The Walking Dead Season 9, Episode 4 “The Obliged” Review

There’s no denying The Walking Dead is enjoying a resurgence this season. The Obliged was another fantastic episode.

Michonne was heavily featured tonight as we see her life in Alexandria running everything in Rick’s absence. Michonne is doing a little of everything from settling gardening disputes, playing with Judith, and tending to the sick. And when she’s suffering from some sleepless nights, it’s time to go kill some walkers.

That led to an interesting scene as Michonne spots a black walker hanging from a tree. Now Michonne has a new problem — Negan won’t eat. He’s on a hunger strike as he wants a conversation. He chats Michonne up about his wife dying from cancer, their desire to have a child like Carl and ultimately how her death helped to not make him weak.

Humble Negan is a far more interesting character this season. Season 8 Negan never had to resort to mind games like this strike to learn Lucille’s location. Negan tried to find some common ground with his dead wife and Michonne’s dead children, but Michonne wasn’t biting. Still, Michonne’s growing unease whenever she sees a bat is telling.

There really wasn’t enough time to spend on Gabriel and Anne this week and their subplot felt very under served. Anne seemed to consider giving Gabriel the old tie ’em down and let a walker devour them trick she pulled on Negan, but had a change of heart. She knocked him out just long enough to roll out. Gabriel broke down presumably at the thought of no more sweet, sweet junker loving.

While last week made it appear as if Maggie and Daryl were heading to kill Negan immediately, she went back to Hilltop to get supplies while Daryl returned to the camp. But now it’s payback time.

Jesus seems torn on his loyalty. He accuses Rick of making a bad call in keeping Negan alive, yet sends a warning to Rick that Maggie is headed to Alexandria. Pick a side dude!

Rick’s got enough problems as Eugene tells him the bridge is a wash. A new storm is coming to basically wipe it out. I’m wondering if the plan is to give Rick a death like Madison from Fear the Walking Dead where he gets washed away, but with no body there’s some chance he’s still alive. That would give Judith a reason to stay with everyone at least.

The only problem with Rick’s pending departure is it’s placing the burden of his focal storyline — that the Saviors can be redeemed — onto other characters. Carol basically told Rick she wasn’t interested in being the Saviors’ keeper any longer and they were going to have to fend for themselves. These conversations are really starting to feel like goodbyes for Rick. He left both Carol and Eugene with a comforting pep talk and encouragement.

Upon learning the news of Maggie’s march, Rick sets out for Alexandria, but Daryl offers him a ride. Rick quickly realizes something is up when Daryl misses the turn. They get into a tussle and fall into a conveniently placed cliff. Hard not to agree with Rick and wonder if Daryl set it up.

One huge improvement this season has been the writing and this pit conversation was a highlight of the night. Daryl called Rick out for not avenging Glenn, but saying he wouldn’t be alive if it wasn’t for him. Rick countered reminding Daryl that he spared Dwight, but Daryl dropped the Oceanside bombshell.

Rick explains that if Negan dies, he becomes a martyr and all those people will have died for nothing. Daryl says Rick doesn’t have enough faith in their crew and that he’s chasing something for Carl that isn’t meant to be. Daryl has a point. The strength of the writing is that neither guy comes off like an idiot and they both have viable points. However, we got the first live F-bomb on The Walking Dead and it came out of nowhere!

They don’t fully hash things out before another fracas breaks out at the camp. Jed and the Saviors have somehow figured out Oceanside killed their crew. That’s some impressive powers of deduction. Carol’s Kingdom troops get ready for a brawl and enough shots ring out to attract one of the two nearby walker hordes. This is not good news.

But for those of us who love creative walker death traps, The Obliged delivered again. Rick and Daryl trying to climb out of the pit while walkers slide down was pretty ingenious. The walkers always come off so much more dangerous when they’re a menacing obstacle capable of wrecking any great plan with their overwhelming numbers. Rick pulls Daryl up after telling his ‘brother’ to take his hand. I don’t know about y’all, but I’m going to miss the Rick and Daryl brotherhood immensely the rest of the series.

With the horde closing in, Rick spots a horse and uses it to lead the horde away from the camp. Daryl thinks now is the time to blow up the bridge, but Rick isn’t having it. Daryl seems to understand Rick’s grand purpose for the bridge, which is still escaping me.

In a nice callback to the first episode, Rick’s horse gets spooked by the walkers and he gets thrown off onto a cement block. Maybe he avoided a broken neck, but he’s impaled. As both hordes slowly converge, this definitely looks like the last stand for Rick Grimes.

The Obliged set up a strong Michonne/Negan conflict, let Rick and Daryl reaffirm their brotherhood and set the final steps in motion for Rick’s death/departure resulting in another strong episode.

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The Walking Dead Season 9, Episode 3 “Warning Signs” Review

 

This week they did well and the series surprises us with a good episode. Warning Signs contains surprises, action, dead people who walk and above all, a great script and a fantastic ending.

The idea of ​​ending the episode with those who would, logically, Rick’s successors, have been brilliant. We have already seen the alarm signals of the rebellion, we know that the great schism is coming on us and for some reason, the enemies that were friends before are much more afraid than The Governor and Negan together.

There were warning signs on the ground, yes, also some signs marking things … but the sign that gives name to the episode are not the physical signs, but the clear sign that Rick’s reign is about to collapse and that they will be his best friends who stab him in the back in the not too distant future. And this, that the good friends, the family, that we had as protagonist is divided and conspire against the other part is a marvel. We saw coming that this would happen, but even without the surprise it is delicious to taste it.

It has not been suddenly, for once they have done well, they have been gradual and motivated. We know Rick’s reasons, we understand Maggie’s discontent. When she looks at her son she remembers Glenn, we remember the pizza boy every time we see Maggie, or Rick … or anyone. When Rick looks at the saviors, think about the future Carl wanted. The spectators also loved Carl and sympathized with his optimism and hope. We can empathize with both factions. The writers have not taken shortcuts this time, they have simmering discontent. Rick has forced the survivors to live with the murderers of their loved ones and this could not go well, we all knew that it can not go well. The story has been shaping up to the point where most of the viewers understand the women of OceanSide and the decision of Maggie and Daryl to look the other way.

For a moment I feared that Maggie and Daryl will avoid the execution of Arat, which would not only have been inconsistent with the feelings of these two characters, but also a trash scene instead of the magnificent sequence we have seen. Maybe that’s why I’m so satisfied with this episode, because seeing how two of “the good guys” look the other way before a few murders and position themselves with those who break the rules has been great. Especially if this is the little push they needed to become mutineers.

I think Daryl has been keeping his position clear from the first moment, his relationship with Rick is already quite deteriorated and the three episodes this season have enhanced that feeling. However, Maggie did not have everything so clear: Michonne convinces her to share her food with the saviors, Gregory motivates her to take the revenge she needed, but La Viuda did not finish having her position clear. In this episode he confesses to Daryl that he would like to look to the future as Rick does;then he feels guilty for encouraging the women of Oceanside to take justice into his own hand … although finally, when he discovers what Arat did, he understands that the saviors do not deserve to be forgiven either by the death of Bea’s husband or brother of Cyndie, or of all the innocent men and women murdered so that the Mafia clan of Simon commanded by Negan would benefit.

For the rest: Rick and Michonne want to have a child, which would be interesting for both … but it’s hard to believe that they happily choose to increase the family when they live in such complicated circumstances and when both have lost their children because of the walkers. The intervention of Zach MacGowan has been shorter than expected, but at least it has served as a spark that ignites one of the most exciting plots of the series … or so it seems. As a subplot, the story of Jadis brings much more than meets the eye and we are about to discover who are the A subjects and who the B and what the helicopter types want them for. I made a theory about it right here.

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New Theory of a Missing “The Walking Dead” Character Explained

Last night’s episode of The Walking Dead bought in a new theory that I have come up with when I have seen a particular scene of the episode. When Jadis/Annie arrived at the junkyard that she used to live at before with her group before Simon and the rest of The Saviors killed them, she was on the radio with a man. But this man is also the pilot of the mysterious helicopter that was first seen in Season 8. They were talking about “A or B” in the discussion and she then revealed to Gabriel that she trades people for supplies. Gabriel told her that he will tell Rick, but she knocked him out after trying to convince him to change his mind. When I seen this whole scene happened, the first thing that came to my mind is Heath.

If you forgot who Heath was, he was a resident of the Alexandria Safe Zone. He was last seen on that episode with Tara way back in Season 7, Episode 6 of The Walking Dead as when him and Tara were trying to escape a heard of zombies, he was in further distance away from her and when she went to where he was, there were car tracks, his glasses, and  “PPP” card on the ground which means that he was kidnapped. There were some theories going around to what have happened to him, but the one I thought of makes the most sense. I believe that Jadis traded Heath for supplies.

The reason this theory might be true is because I looked back at Season 7, Episode 11 and at a closer inspection at the scene where Rick is on top of the junkyard, you can see the RV that Heath and Tara were driving in the background. You can also see a helicopter pad in the same scene as well. The other reason I believe this theory might be true is because Scott Gimple said in an interview that his disappearance will be explained in some form in Season 9 of the show. We know that Corey Hawkins left the show to do his role on 24 Legacy for one season before it got canceled so his return to The Walking Dead has to happen or be talked about with that helicopter that has a connection with Jadis. Also, it seemed like she was about to do that with Negan in Season 8 as he was tied up and he seen the helicopter arriving after Jadis light up a flare. Another thing I would like to note is that Rick was held hostage in the junkyard at Season 8 as well that was marked with the letter “A” which was also an option of “A and B” and Rick has also seen the helicopter as well in Season 8 but not at the junkyard.

If this theory about Heath being traded for supplies is true, you have read it here first. What do you think?

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WWE 2K19 Review

 

It is that time of the year again as WWE 2K19 is now in our hands. I got a review copy of the PS4 version of the game a few weeks ago, and now it is time for me to share my thoughts on this year’s installment of the game.

The cover star this year is the current WWE Champion AJ Styles as this year alone, he has proven to be “the face that runs the place” on the Smackdown brand. If you were to ask me 10 years ago when he was still wrestling for TNA if he would be on the cover, I would have said “not in a million years” but it happened this year as he is the MVP of Smackdown.

The roster this year is almost the same as last year with new additions to the 200 playable character roster such as The Undisputed Era (Adam Cole, Kyle O’ Riley, and Bobby Fish), Andrade “Cien” Almas, The AOP, Bianca Belair, Riccochet, EC3, Tyler Bate, Pete Dunn, Lio Rush, Ronda Rousey, and Velveteen Dream. You can mix and match the current stars of today and from previous years in many matches to your desire. With the stacked roster this high, there is no reason for Tommaso Ciampa to be cut from the in game roster this year especially since he is the current NXT Champion.

This year, we got the return of 2K Showcase which was missing from the last two entries. 2K Showcase tells the story of the rise of Daniel Bryan in WWE. In between the matches, we are shown a video package along with narration of Daniel Bryan himself setting up what was going on storyline wise at the time before the match loaded up. It begins way back to his match with John Cena at Velocity from early 2003, all the way to his Wrestlemania return match from this year teaming with Shane McMahon going against Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. All of those matches were great to play and I would have wished that we would have gotten to revisit the CM Punk/Daniel Bryan/Aj Lee love triangle and matches from 2012 but I understood why they could not do it. My only other gripe with this mode is that many of the matches can last up to 30 minutes due to the objectives that you have to do during the match.

For the first time, MyCareer mode plays like a WWE storymode from the past games. You start off in an independent promotion and then work your way up to the WWE Performance Center and from there, it is NXT and then the main roster of Raw and Smackdown. I love that this time, the WWE Superstars and even your own character is voice acted during the scenes. In fact, the scenes with “Woken” Matt Hardy during this mode is quite funny but you will have to see that for yourself. The learning curve during this mode can be frustrating at times due to you starting with a very low set of moves and abilities and most of them you will have to unlock via randomized lootcrates and even those are very expensive when you purchase them by in game currency so it is good that there are no paid micro-transactions, but this system needs to go in the next game for good.

The gameplay is much more solid than the last two entries as I rarely encountered glitches or bugs even when there were 8 men in the ring during a Ladder Match. The Cage Match has been reworked so you can escape easier along with fighting on the top edge of the cage. I wanted this feature for many years since it adds more drama to the match itself. The custom match creator this year can be saved in the option that you create it even in Universe Mode. The lightning and the entrances are on point and the presentation looks like if you are watching it on TV. The commentary has improved a slight bit, but at times I can hear repeated words during matches.

Speaking of Universe Mode, this year, you can finally assign managers to any superstar on your Universe Mode roster. You can also have up to 6 championships per show now which is great news for anyone that wants to have two mid-card championships on each show. On this mode now as well is the ability to choose who will be the Money In The Bank holder and which championship that either he or she will target. I wanted this feature way back in Smackdown vs Raw 2011 and it is great to finally see it being used in this game. Also, you can finally pick who wins simulated matches in case if you do not want to play the match and that lifted a huge weight off my shoulder. Universe Mode always needed adjustments since it was first introduced 8 years ago, but I felt that this year the developers made more effort to tweak it than any other game.

The Creation Suite’s features can have you there for hours doing customized things such as Create A Superstar, Arena, and Entrance but also for the first time this year, you can create a MITB briefcase with your own design as you please and use it on Universe Mode. You can also create block versions of WWE superstars or your own characters as well.

There is also an towers mode where you can face different superstars in different match situations. It starts off easy, but it gets hard with each match that progresses. It is like WWE’s version of Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter with their towers mode.

This year’s game has been a massive improvement from the last two games. The last overall game that I loved was WWE 2k14 and every year since then, it has not matched up to how fun a WWE video game is supposed to be and I can say that the fun factor has returned in this game. It is so fun, that they even added (by Xavior Wood’s request) a big head mode. I have not used this yet, but I know it was added in for nostalgia of silliness of 90’s games. Despite the hard learning curve of MyCareer mode and their lootcrate system, I fully recommend this game to pick up.

My score is a 8.9/10

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The Walking Dead Season 9, Episode 2 “The Bridge” Review

 

Rick Grimes and his friends are working hard to build a new world. The remains of the old world, as established, are increasingly becoming a thing of the past. No gasoline, no canned goods, and a crumbling infrastructure that is making travel and trade between the sprawling collection of city-states difficult, if not impossible. Without tractors, modern farming is impossible. Without food, life is impossible. Sure, plows and wagons will help, but there’s only so much that can be done, and the zombie menace is omnipresent, especially considering that bullets must be hand-filled and recycled. The only way to accomplish any big project is via lots and lots of manpower, so that means when the bridge needs to be rebuilt, everyone has to pitch in, regardless of any hard feelings they might have in the past.

On the surface, as Rick talks about the camp in a framing device with Negan, things are looking good. There’s a big camp and everyone seems to be working together fairly well, getting back a piece of how things used to be, if Rick is to be believed. The goal isn’t to forgive, or to forget, but to move past, build trust, unite the divided communities by sharing resources. Alexandria has bullets. Sanctuary has ethanol and manpower. Hilltop has food and farming equipment. Oceanside has fish. And the roads, as Ezekiel says in the episode, are how these communities live and die. It might not be the sort of exciting story Henry will tell his grandchildren, but without the bridge, Henry might not live to have grandchildren in the first place.

Trust is key in Rick’s new world. Trust and second chances. That’s reiterated in David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick’s script repeatedly, yet that point isn’t pushed too far, if that makes sense. The establishment of trust, and of moving forward, is stated repeatedly, but it’s not really hammered on in an obvious way. It comes in little moments. Rosita rigging demolition charges with Arat, the woman who cut her cheek. Arat questions their proximity to the blast, and they exchange mutual admissions of distrust (never mind the fact that Rosita wouldn’t blow herself up to kill one Savior). Siddiq trusts Enid to take over medical needs at the bridge camp. Gabriel and Anne (formerly Jadis) bond over their lack of trustworthiness and the fact that they were given second chances by Rick and company. Maggie gives Earl (John Finn) a second chance at the best of Tammy Rose (Brett Butler) after his attempted murder of her.

The only one who doesn’t seem to be getting a second chance, because he hasn’t reformed a bit, is Negan, who gets regular status updates from Rick on the formation of the new world and who appears in presence in this week’s bookend segments. Essentially, his presence is only via shadows and a few tight close-ups, allowing Rick to give his speech to camera. Negan, as always, antagonizes. Rick isn’t building for the future, he’s building a monument to the dead. Rick’s family is gone, as is Negan’s. Rick’s in charge, for now, but how long will this tenuous peace he’s built last given that the Saviors are disappearing or walking off the job and resources are stretched thin to feed the mouths of all the Savior manpower? Maggie further moves away from Rick’s sphere of influence. The Saviors are either on board with the new world or fighting against it (literally in the case of Zach McGowan’s Savior character).

That unease is there, and it colors a lot of the interactions, but in previous years, it would have been addressed directly and repeatedly. It’s still mentioned, but it’s more subtle; it’s the implication more than anything. Tension is the order of the day, and even the relatively happy camp is troubled. They’re struggling to rebuild the bridge, working with primitive equipment, behind schedule, undermanned, and they have to worry both about the weather (the levee will break eventually) and the omnipresent threat of the zombie hordes that have been drawn to the area. Certainly, they have a plan to distract the horde, but that plan requires trusting in the people who have to man the air raid sirens and execute the distractions.

Of course, since this is The Walking Dead and those distractions depend on the assistance of the grudging Saviors, things go wrong. Daisy Mayer maintains a very dynamic camera in this week’s episode, with lots of tracking shots through Rick’s camp, lots of smooth transition between scenes based off following characters as they split off from groups and walk away, or stay behind. It helps the episode flow more smoothly, and the action sequences are exciting and clearly executed. The walker attack on the logging camp is especially fun, with lots of inventive special effects courtesy of Nicotero’s crew.

It would be understandable to think that after 117 episodes that they’d be running out of ways to smash zombies, and yet, there’s still creativity with the set pieces. There are a thousand ways to smash a head, apparently, and this week’s exhibition in special effects skill and the blending of the digital with the practical is especially impressive, and a much-needed dose of fun in what is an otherwise tense episode. If nothing else, it’s something that I haven’t seen before, outside of perhaps a Final Destination movie, and it’s that kind of novelty that is appreciated so deeply into a show’s run.

My favorite parts of the episode was seeing the portraits of Glenn, Hershel, Beth , Shawn, Annette, and Josephine on the wall as Maggie and Jesus were talking. I also liked to see that Aaron is starting to look like the current comic book appearance of Rick Grimes along with the conflict between Daryl and Justin. Speaking of Justin, I do not know who kidnapped him at the end of the episode, but I do not think that it is The Whisperers.

The direction remains solid, and the acting and writing seem to be more consistent thus far. With the major upheaval coming in the cast, it’ll be interesting to see how this all shakes out and what new direction the show takes.

Big changes in front of the camera, and bigger changes behind the camera. If nothing else, for the moment, the show feels fresh again. Perhaps rather than being a soap opera with zombies, The Walking Dead can become a Game Of Thrones with zombies. Trade baby daddy drama for political intrigue, city-states working together to accomplish bigger goals while scheming against one another in the background? That seems like something that could refresh a popular show that’s been in a creative and ratings slump.

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The Walking Dead Season 9, Episode 1 Review

 

Fresh out of New York Comic Con, the latest episode of The Walking Dead just aired and this one was a massive episode. Not only because it’s the season premiere, but also because it’s the first episode for a new arc after the massive All Out War arc we had which was great in my opinion. I was so excited to see what Season 9 of The Walking Dead would bring us and how things with Negan no longer in charge would go for Rick and his group.

The name of this episode is called “A New Beginning” which also takes the name of volume 22 of the comic series, and the subtitle of Issue #127. The episode started off quite strongly with all of our core main characters working together to pull an old wagon out of an old museum. It was nice to see Rick, Daryl, Rosita, The King, Carol, Maggie and everyone else from the core character set share a single scene with one another. It does seem a long time since we’ve seen them all work together on something as they’re often separated and in different locations. They all went to a museum in Washington, D.C to retrieve supplies, such as plows, canoes, seed samples, and a covered wagon. I loved the dialogue that was exchanged between the characters. I also wondered if anyone noticed the bloody handprint on the “Civil War” part of the large artwork Michonne was looking at. The group almost lost Ezekiel as he fell through the glass floor while there were walkers under beneath but the group saved him just in time.

But as the episode progressed we could see that our once close group of friends who we know work together well, are actually having a lot of issues.

For the most part, the struggle for our group at the moment post Negan is with leadership and the limited resources available. There just isn’t enough to go around and people living under Rick’s leadership are getting annoyed.

Further tensions occur on Maggie’s side of the group which she now leads after winning an election. Gregory is still alive and is stirring dissent among the ranks and gets quite a bit done after ken dies on the wagon mission. This gives Gregory a chance to build up an assassination attempt on Maggie during a brief period of severe unpopularity. Gregory fails though and Maggie ends up having him hanged. It’s quite brutal really, but it represents a shift in Maggie’s character to a more ruthless side, which I think might develop further if her character doesn’t have anyone to counter balance what she’s doing. This moment on the show also happened on issue #141.

We see a conversation in this episode between Maggie and Rick where they talk about building a broken bridge and the resources involved. Between the two groups, it’s tough to organize and Maggie’s unpopularity at the moment makes it tough for her to commit strong resources to help Rick. I feel that going forward, we will probably see some tensions between the groups for resources and it might strain the Rick and Maggie friendship quite a bit, but it’s just a theory.

The thing I’m most sad about at the moment is that if you’ve been reading up on Andrew Lincoln news lately you’ll know it’s his last season. I really don’t want him to go and the actor, particularly in this episode had so much screen presence that it’s hard to imagine the show without him in it. It’s going to be a tough season to watch but I’m happy with this premiere episode. I’m looking forward to seeing how both Rick and Maggie develop as season 9 progresses and how they handle leading both their groups Also interesting is where some of the other characters are heading right now such as Daryl and Carol who both had a few interesting moments in today’s episode and I’m keen to see both those characters develop.

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New York Comic Con 2018 Recap of the Week

This year for the 7th year in a row, I covered New York Comic Con as part of the media. The show has grown very large over the years and it will keep getting bigger for years to come. Everything on the show was flooded with attendees going to different vendors to get their favorite comic book or piece of exclusive merchandise. It was massive and the crowds are as huge as a group of zombies on The Walking Dead. The Funko booth has been the busiest line all week from what I have seen and i can see why since that is the hottest brand of the entire show. You however, needed to enter a lottery and win in order to even get in the line of the booth. I have also seen various lines at the booth of writers, artists, and various celebrities and professional wrestlers such as Sting, Lita, Trish Stratus, Finn Balor, Bayley, and much more. There is a fandom for everything at this show every year and I love seeing it being showcased. My experience as press this year has been at the level of San Diego Comic Con as i went from one place to another inside the convention center and I connected with different writers and journalists that I have meet previously and for the first time such as Brandon Davis of Comicbook.com, Kirsten of INSIDER, and Linda Marie of Fan Fest. We have all connected during different times of the show to talk about various things about the show.

My press days started on Day 0 (I would like to call it) at the Titans red carpet event and screening. The red carpet event featured the cast of the show as they were there for flash photography and interviews. I liked that this was done outside because it would have been very hot and muggy if it was done inside. There were big white couches on the floor for press members and they were much more comfortable than the hard chairs at the Hammerstein Ballroom (I have been there before for wrestling events. Trust me, those seats are painful). We were shown the first two episodes of the show and It is largely watchable for the most part. The SDCC trailer received a huge amount of backlash from fans, but for the screening, the reception was mostly positive. There was also a Q and A panel afterwards along with a teaser of the Doom Patrol series. We also were shown another teaser of the Harley Quinn animated show as well and then it was announced that Titans will be renewed for a second season. I had my worries of the show (and I still do), but I think that it can be better on the long run in the future.

Day one was Thursday and the show felt like a Saturday with all of the people there in different areas of the convention center. I meet with Ray Flook of Bleedingcool.com to discuss the podcast plans as I was also recording the 200th episode of my show. I also seen that the E! Network had a small truck outside the convention center as they were giving away free donuts to everyone as long as you voted on the selected category of the People’s Choice Awards. I came back there about 3-4 times per day to get some donuts. TruTV also had an area inside one of their panels where they were giving away free bagels as well. These two networks really wanted to have all of the attendees fed very well.

I ran into Kasey Pierce at her booth at Source Point Press as we talked about the show and the stuff that was going on at SDCC since I planned on stopping by her booth at that show originally but it was way too busy for me over there. I picked up a few of her comics that she and her team has produced (also if you are reading this, thank you for signing them). I wanted to stop by more booths during the show but my time at the press rooms overlapped too much so I could not see them along with a few panels I missed out on.

I meet up with my friends and also fellow podcasters Jason Solomon of the Solomonster Sounds Off, John Draper of Wrestling Soup, and Shaheen of THT (The Hot Tag) as I also recorded part of my 200th episode with them one by one. It was Jason’s first time and I gave him most of the rundown on what to avoid during the show. It was great seeing all of them including Fred Richani of The Sports Courier as we talked about our predictions of the UFC 229 show.

My first press room of the week was at The Man in the High Castle as the cast talked about the show in roundtable interviews. My second press room was TruTV’s Jon Glaser Loves Gear as I interviewed Jon Glaser himself as he talked about the upcoming season with me and a funny story about working with Amy Schumer.

My final press room of the day was at Crackle’s Supermansion. I interviewed the creator and producers of the show back in C2E2 earlier this year so it was great to see the entire cast talk about the show at the press conference including Bryan Cranston himself.

Friday’s press rooms featured the Amazon Prime exclusive TV series Lore as I was part of the Roundtable interviews with Alicia Witt. This show is developed by the creator of the podcast of the same name, Aaron Mahnkle. I also spoken to Gale Anne Hurd who is also a producer of The Walking Dead and other movies such as The Incredible Hulk, Armageddon, and The Terminator. I asked her about when she found out about Andrew Lincoln’s departure of the show. My next press room interviews was the 25th Anniversary of Batman: The Animated Series as I spoken to Kevin Conroy and Tara Strong about the Blu-Ray release of the show and their memories of the show.

Saturday, my time was mostly away from convention center after i covered the Legacies press room. I spoken with Danielle Ross Russell, Matthew Davis, and Jenny Boyd and they talked about the upcoming show and it’s ties to The Vampire Diaries. After that, I attended the Paleyfest red carpet event of The Walking Dead. Cast members Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Melissa McBribe, and Norman Reedus were therefor photos and interviews along with show runner Angela Kang. I was very surprised that Jeffrey remembered me as he looked at my direction and said “Hey I remember you from San Diego, how are you doing man” as we shook hands. This followed by a screening of the first episode of the 9th season of The Walking Dead with a discussion panel after the episode finished screening. I did not go to the Madison Square Garden panel later that night, but the news of the passing of Scott Wilson happened while the event was going on. It was sad for everyone to find out that this happened especially if you are in that building where other people in the same room are talking about it.

On Sunday, Me and Ray Flook recorded part of the podcast as we talked about the show in general and this was after I covered the press room of FOX’s The Gifted. The cast only had a few minutes at a time for interviews since they all had to go to the panel right after it but i was happy to meet the entire cast!

Overall, it has been a great show for press coverage this year. I am always looking forward to the show every year. Next year, I will return again to bring you more coverage of the show. With that, check out some of the photos I have taken of cosplayers.

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EXCLUSIVE: Former Developers of Telltale Games Breaks Their Silence on the Layoffs

The news broke out Friday that Telltale Games has laid off over 250 members of their staff and only kept 25 members of the staff to complete the Minecraft Story Mode for Netflix. This is the same company that has produced many hit titles such as The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us, Batman, Game of Thrones, and Tales of Borderlands and their upcoming titles included a sequel to Game of Thrones, and The Wolf Among Us and an upcoming Stranger Things title. The news came out of nowhere and those titles were canceled. The biggest hit from the titles is The Walking Dead as their final season of the game just started over a month ago and after the second episode which will release this Tuesday, we will not get the rest of the planned episodes. This caused a huge uproar online due to the fact that many people has paid for season passes for the game and they cannot give out refunds to the people who has purchased the game expecting a full season.

Since then, the hashtag of #TellTaleJobs started trending and major gaming studios started to pick up on this and it shows a good sign that they want to hire many of the former developers. Of the many developers, I have interviewed one of them and his name is Johnathan Straw of Telltale Games and this is what he had to say of the situation:

Hey Jonathan. Thank you for taking the time for this interview. I appreciate it very much. What can you tell me about the situation at Telltale and did you have any indicator that this was going to happen on Friday?

Jonathan: “Here’s my side of things. I was actually on PTO on Friday, and noticed something was up as I was waiting for my flight at SFO. I noticed rumblings through our Slack channels, and saw an all hands company meeting appear on the calendar. Shortly after I saw a cryptic condolences message on Slack and began asking for clarification on what had happened. While waiting for a response, my company email account force signed off. Then peers started alerting me through Slack that the company had been closed and everyone had half an hour to vacate, then return on Monday to gather belongings. There was no indication that this was going to happen. In fact, just within the last week or two, we had made new hires, and one of my supervisors had just returned from intern recruitment outreach in Florida. I had a meeting on Thursday right before the closure concerning training plans for transitioning the studio to Unity, and even had a candid conversation about converting my employment status from project hire to permanent hire. Both of my immediate supervisors were enthusiastic about advocating for my conversion. My team had a major project review that is typical and routine to our development process still on the calendar as the employees were being ushered out of the building. All I can really say is that everything was running as normal until suddenly it wasn’t.”

Yikes! This is crazy. So of the 25 that stayed, were they alerted also, or they found out as it happened. And there is a load of rumor and innuendo going on with the last few episodes of the game including the talked about situation of the way they will be released and that the CEO’s only focused on gathering as many IP’s as possible. Would you like say your input about it here?

Jonathan: “I don’t even know who the 25 retained employees are. I won’t comment about rumor and innuendo. The official statements from Pete Hawley and Telltale official social channels are as much as I know about project and IP status. I hadn’t gotten to a point in my employment to begin exploring our IP library, as I was primarily focused with getting The Walking Dead: The Final Season out the door. Even if I knew what else we were exploring, I wouldn’t be able to reveal them if they hadn’t already been announced by the company.”

Interesting. My final question is, since a number of former employees were let go while their health benefits were cut, did that happen to you as well? And do you feel that there was an over saturation with the amount of people that were hired through them? I would also would like to add in that there will be a class action lawsuit (which just came out today) against Telltale. Would you like to comment on that?

Jonathan: “All my benefits were rescinded immediately just like everyone else’s. I didn’t feel there was an over-saturation of hires. I was hired after the November layoffs, and it was a bit sad to see a quarter of the building empty where there were previously desks and people when I first interviewed. The teams I saw there were adequately streamlined, and in general we were all working under better creative conditions both from my observations based on my previous employment at Telltale Games (2010 – 2012) and from sentiments among my peers. I am following the class action lawsuit. We have all been discussing the legality of the lay-offs, but none of us are lawyers. I suppose it was only a matter of time until this all caught the attention of lawyers. If it gets me and my peers the severance we all deserve, then I am all for it. Fortunately, I have been in this kind of situation before. I am prepared with alternate sources of income, independent game projects of my own making, and a healthy network of friends in the industry.”

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The Walking Dead’s 15th Anniversary Variant Covers For The Re-released Issues

We learned a few months ago that Image Comics and Skybound are going to reprint some of the key issues of The Walking Dead for the 15th anniversary which is approaching next month. This week, I was emailed the high resolution photos of the variant covers and these will come in their normal color, or in black and white. You can pick these up in comic book stores on October 13th and the list of the reprinted issues are the following in this order.

#1

#2 (First appearance of Carl and Lori, Glenn, Andrea, and Sophia)

#7 (First appearance of Tyrese)

#19 (First appearance of Michonne)

#27 (First appearance of The Governor)

#48 (Death of Lori, Judith, and The Governor/Final Prison Battle)

#53( First appearance of Abraham, Eugene, Rosita)

#92 (First Appearance of Jesus)

#98 (Death of Abraham/First appearance of Dwight)

#100 (First appearance of Negan/death of Glenn Rhee)

#108 (First appearance of Ezekiel/Shiva)

#127(Post All Out War/First appearance of Magna and her group)

#132 (First Appearance of Alpha)

#167 (Andrea’s death issue)

#171 (First Appearance of The Princess)

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AMC Network Announces The Walking Dead NYCC Panel

AMC today released new unit and behind-the-scenes photography from the highly-anticipated new season of The Walking Dead, premiering Sunday, October 7 at 9/8c.

In addition, select cast and producers from the show will be at New York Comic Con for a panel, moderated by Chris Hardwick (Talking Dead), at the Theater at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, October 6th and 8/7c.

Cast members including Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Danai Gurira, Melissa McBride and Jeffrey Dean Morgan join Executive Producer and Showrunner Angela Kang, Executive Producer and Chief Content Officer Scott M. Gimple, Executive Producers Robert Kirkman, Gale Anne Hurd and Dave Alpert and Special Effects Makeup Supervisor and Executive Producer Greg Nicotero to discuss the show’s exciting new chapter and what’s to come in Season 9.

The Walking Dead returns Sunday, October 7 at 9/8c.