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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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.

The Walking Dead News: Sons Of Anarchy Alum Ryan Hurst Joins The Cast

One of the best casting choices in the universe of The Walking Dead since Jeffrey Dean Morgan was revealed this week and his name is Ryan Hurst. Ryan was on the hit TV series Sons Of Anarchy on FX as one of the fan favorites Opie. His character received a brutal death during season 5 and since then, he has appeared in Bates Motel and Outsider. He will now appear on the 9th season of The Walking Dead as one of the whisperers but not just one of them, he will play as Alpha’s right hand man, Beta. You most likely want to know who is Beta would you? I will give you the rundown.

 

Beta made his first appearance on issue #154 (4th part of volume 26: Call To Arms) in the comic series as Negan encountered him after he escaped from jail. He is very tall and wields two large knives. After Negan’s encounter with him, Beta orders the rest of The Whisperers to take Negan back to their camp. When Michonne and Aaron tries to look for Negan in the woods, Beta and The Whisperers attacks them until Dwight stops it. That is all I can say now about his debut in the comic series. Fans have anticipated if Beta will appear at all in the upcoming season since Alpha and The Whisperers debuted long before him in the comic series. Ryan Hurst and Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s interactions on the show should be very interesting so we will have to wait until we see.

 

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Fear The Walking Dead News: Will Morgan Return to Alexandria?

 

The second half of the fourth season of Fear The Walking Dead has arrived at AMC, and has revealed the odd unknown. Among them, we could know the desire of Morgan (Lennie James) to return to Alexandria, and has asked allies to follow him in his mission

After having been visiting the different survivors of Fear The Walking Dead, Morgan decides that it is best to return with his original group of friends to provide the necessary help. At the request to be followed, only seems to agree Al (Maggie Grace), who agrees to take him there. But, will there finally be another ‘crossover’?

Everything seems to indicate that no. Or, at least, for now. In response to the recent production decision to renew Fear The Walking Dead for a fifth season, the fact that both zombie titles merge into one is a probability that, in the short term, is not contemplated. This should not mean a resounding ‘no’ to Morgan’s return, as he could leave and remain in his origin series. But here lies the big problem:

The ninth season of The Walking Dead raises a temporary leap of no less than a year and a half, so it would be very difficult to make the two chronological lines come together. Also, Scott Gimple has indicated that there are no plans for a new ‘crossover’ soon. Of course, this does not close the door to occur in the future, but it is something that we can discard right now:

“No [excludes more crosses] That’s all I have to say, it does not, but I would not wait for it all the time, things could happen, you never know who could appear in Fear The Walking Dead. The Walking Dead and potentially to people in the past of ‘Fear the Walking Dead “.

However, an existing option is that the protagonists of The Walking Dead do march to Fear with the intention of following this plot in its corresponding timeline. However, it seems an unlikely option.

The ninth season of The Walking Dead will arrive at AMC on October 7th.

 

SDCC 2018-AMC’s Fear The Walking Dead and The Walking Dead Press Conferences

More San Diego Comic Con news came out as I was invited to attend both of AMC’s Fear The Walking Dead and The Walking Dead press conferences. The Fear one started first as the cast and producers of the season made their way to the long table. The cast included Colman Domingo, Alycia Debnam-Carey, Lennie James, Danay Garcia, Garret Dillahunt, Maggie Grace and Jenna Elfman as they all talked about what to expect from the second half of season 4 as the back half of the season deals with more character development and a natural disaster. I also spoke with Alycia and Maggie for a few minutes after the conference to talk about Travis’ death way back in season 3. I also spoke with Scott Gimple as we talked about the comic series of The Walking Dead, his new comic series with Robert Kirkman Die!Die!Die, and future possible storylines of The Walking Dead especially since Volume 30:New World Order just finished not too long ago.

 

Here is the audio

https://youtu.be/ikNbhSCan_Y

 

After that conference was over, The Walking Dead started and we learned more information to the upcoming season and Andrew Lincoln’s departure of the show. That got sad to hear him say it because he loves the show and working with everyone there. The Press conference was very funny also as Norman and Andrew Lincoln had a “stare down” after the rest of the cast arrived, along with Jeffery Dean Morgan stealing the show over there with his very funny humor. Other cast members that were there was Danai Gurira and Lauren Cohan along with Greg Nicotero and the new show runner Angela Kang and Executive Producer Scott Gimple. The panel is a must listen!

Here is the audio from the conference

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=huBlQfcTTow&t=6s

Meeting Andrew Lincoln face to face is a dream come true of mines and I am happy that it happened!

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AMC’s “The Walking Dead” season 9 will have a “new look and feel” according to the new showrunner

 

“The Walking Dead” TV series has a new showrunner for season 9. In a recent interview, the new showrunner Angela Kang talked about the changes in the “look and feel” of the show, and other aspects of the story.

Kang is no stranger to the show, and has been a part of the TV series since the second season. Her role has been expanding gradually, and now she is the showrunner. In an interview with Variety, Kang teased that they are “playing with the style of the show a little bit.”

“I think fans will enjoy the new look and feel that we have,” Kang said. The long running show has a typical look and feel, something that Kang is aware of, but they do want to keep the show “fresh.” Apart from the look of the show they have apparently experimented with the sound too.

There will be a time jump in the next season similar to the comic series where there was a time jump in the comic series after All Out War ended. After using cars and jeeps on the streets, the heroes appear to have finally run out of gas for their vehicles. The next season will show them on horses and carts. “The world is starting to break down and nature is taking over,” Kang teased.

Apart from the changes in the transport the heroes will use, their weapons will also change. They will gradually move away from guns and bullets to more of hand weapons. The close-up shots of people slashing and stabbing zombies should make for some exciting action sequences, especially when they face a big horde. “It’s a fun evolution we’re playing with,” Kang said.

The show has had shocking exits of some of the main characters in Season 8, which is expected to continue in season 9.

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Jon Bernthal will return on AMC’s The Walking Dead for one episode

With Rick Grimes’s exit from The Walking Dead confirmed for the show’s ninth season, The Hollywood Reporter claims another character will make a dramatic return to the show. And we’re just as surprised as you are, considering this character hasn’t been part of the conversation for years.

According to the report, Jon Bernthal’s Shane will appear in at least one episode of  the upcoming season, likely to help see off Lincoln’s Rick. The two characters were cop buddies before the infection spread. Eventually, Shane became so unhinged that Rick had no choice but to kill him.

Because Shane died—and, later on, zombie Shane was killed—he isn’t going to return in the present day. Instead, it’s likely he’ll appear in a flashback, perhaps recounting an important moment between him and Rick before the world fell apart.

As for the departure of Lincoln’s Rick, how he’ll be phased out is unclear. The character has been a staple of the show from the beginning, but has become more embattled over the past few years. To breath new life into the show, The Walking Dead is making big changes to help spark fan interest.

The Hollywood Reporter claims Lauren Cohan’s Maggie is also expected to exit the show next season. For maximum impact, one would assume that both characters will die, rather than simply depart the group. Either way, it means big changes for fans of the show as Norman Reedus’s Daryl Dixon becomes more of a fixture.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

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