The Moth Chase

Elevating the Art of Procrastanalysis – Academics wasting time on pop culture

Archive for the ‘The Walking Dead’ Category

You kill or you die. Or you die and you kill.

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Governor zombie

OK, so the finale kind of won my heart. Did it make me promise to show up for another date next season? Not so sure. But I most certainly let it buy me dinner last night. I actually sat on the edge of my seat and felt fear and exhilaration, at least for moments. And that is saying something, since my expectations were so low I was watching the episode on my Kindle in an Upper East Side Whole Foods. If kale salad has ever accompanied true suspense, it did today.

I loved the opening visual. We have focused on zombie eyes off and on throughout the series and they feature in this season’s credits in a new way. The sure fire proof of someone turned zombie (before they lunge at you to eat your flesh) is in the eyes. So when we started in the deep abyss of an eye, in a haggard, sunken socket, I was expecting a zoom out to some new zombie terror. Except for the persistent human heartbeat that overlaid the shot. So then I thought maybe we were getting some absolutely terrifying suggestion that the zombies could reanimate – that in some way Milton was right and the original human is still inside. When we zoomed out to the Governor in full-on torture sadism mode, ah ha! Maybe it is not the zombies who possess the kernel of their old humanity; maybe it is the humans who have always possessed the kernel of their future zombie? Read the rest of this entry »

I’m a damn mystery to me

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Merle's exit

I never thought I’d say this, but damn am I going to miss Merle! In a world populated by characters so thinly sketched I can see my own hands, bored and twiddling thumbs, through their half-baked motivations, at least Merle had something like coherence. My favorite line in the episode (chosen for the title of this post) was Merle’s quote to Rick: I don’t know why I do what I do. I’m a damn mystery to me. This should be a motto for most of these characters, since why any of them does what they do is beyond me at this point, but at least Merle embodied this mystery. I’m not saying he was a fully fleshed out character either, but watching him oscillate between being a racist bastard and caring brother, angry outsider and betrayed friend gave some kind of depth to his motives. Read the rest of this entry »

Ease Back, Man

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Hi friends,

I’m going to try to begin on some positive notes, because I feel like I’ve mostly been complaining about this show this season, and it’s starting to get me down. This episode felt like a little bit of a shuffle to get us in position for the last two that mostly, though not super-wonderfully, worked. It focused in on the relationship between the Gov. and Andrea, and brought in other stories to illuminate that – in other words, it actually tried to tell a coherent story. Yey! Take the oddly placed flashback, for example – if whether or not we hand over Michonne is going to be the central moral question moving forward, then this adds a small textured layer to her character – she knew her walker pack-mules, and they weren’t even human before they turned, making her herself more morally complex and ambiguous. (Those of you who have read the novels, please don’t put spoilers in the comments on who those walkers were…I’d like to see what the show is going to do with that). But the scene also served the central focus – what particularly struck me in that little fireside chat, for example, was Read the rest of this entry »

Written by themothchase

March 18, 2013 at 8:09 am

That is a Slaughter

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Hi friends,

So it comes down to this: two white men presuming the right to trade a black woman as their property to settle their own disputes. The racial politics of this show have been so messy and messed up that I can’t quite tell if this image is intentional with its racial charge. If this moment is finally digging into the race themes of the show, then it has the potential to be quite brilliant. My hope would be that Michonne would upend the whole thing somehow, revealing the hubris of these guys for what it is. But my sense is that she will remain little more than a pawn in the game playing out between the Governor and Rick. My sense is that we are now supposed to have picked our sides – Gov.=evil because he’s setting a trap and Rick=good because he wants Herschel to talk him out of giving Michonne over. My sense is that the deeper question of why these men think they even have the right to trade in and offer gifts of black bodies to save white bodies┬áto each other will go unanswered.

My prediction – Read the rest of this entry »

Written by themothchase

March 11, 2013 at 2:16 pm

The weak shall inherit the earth

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Rick in Clear

I am so hesitant to say this, but I liked this week’s episode. Or at least, I found more promise in where the show might be going, despite (because of?) the reprieve from the prison/Woodbury showdown. The moment the “previously on” started, I pumped my fist in the air: we are going back, in some small way, to those explosive first episodes and to the genuine shock and potential the series represented when Rick was stumbling around this new world with no other guides than Morgan and Duane and substantially less heroic angst to weigh down his stunningly heroic actions!

Aside from the obvious ways in which Morgan was just a cipher for Rick’s madness – “I have to believe you can come back from this” meaning “I have to believe *I* can come back from this” – it was also fascinating to see how another person is “surviving” the apocalypse. Read the rest of this entry »

I didn’t know the Messiah complex was contagious

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Andrea Messiah

OK gang, here we are again. I have given up deciding if I like this show and I’m just going to track the themes that we’ve been discussing the last few weeks: namely, the retrogressive and disturbing gender politics and the ethics of post-apocalyptic fantasy land:

1) After weeks of almost complete reticence, Michonne offers us the most prescient take-down of Andrea’s problematic fascination with the Governor by calling her on her preposterous assumption that somehow she will save all the humans from their own worst instincts, despite the fact that she doesn’t seem aware in anyway of what people are really up to.

2) That said, Rick, Shane, Herschel, the Governor, and even Glen to a certain degree have all been offered as Messiah figures and no one has given them the same smack-down, so there is something gross about the fact that Andrea is denied this possibility (even though I think Michonne is totally right to call her on her delusions). Read the rest of this entry »

I’m not sure there *is* an answer, Rick…

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Hello friends,

Well…we were worried about the show taking a dive after the…you know…first finale (and when they sacked the showrunner). And it seems that we were justified.

I don’t have much to say about this episode, mostly because it, well, mostly sucked. Sorry. I hope one of you will disagree and let me know why I’m wrong.

Let me point out the few good things going on:

(a) Our groups are reunited. This is good, mostly because the separate plot-lines were meandering…although I wonder what will happen to the people Rick just kicked out. It seems odd to have the characters appear for 2 episodes and then not again. Although I wouldn’t put it past these writers. I thought the Daryl and Merle scenes were great and it was interesting to see Daryl come to a decision…sort of after the fact. It’s very uncharacteristic of him (i.e. to change his mind–he is usually stubborn), and it means he values Rick and company, a lot. It’s also apparently infectious as Merle finally comes along with him. If done right,

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Martin

February 18, 2013 at 7:32 pm