If “Hunted” was a glorified bottle episode, I would have not liked it. But The Walking Dead pulled off a great episode.
The opening sequence is one of the most insane intros The Walking Dead has had since “Walk With Us” in the sense of the nonstop action. Goodbye Cole as we learned nothing important about you.
I wish the opening credits had continued because the abrupt cut away immediately took away the energy of the first three minutes. Where were those badass looking members of The Reapers that we saw at the end of the previous episode? Because they were nowhere to be found on this episode.
The Walking Dead is clearly preparing for the confrontation between Negan and Maggie, which may end with one of them dying. In spite of liking the performance between Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Lauren Cohan when it came to building the tension for Maggie to make another difficult decision, I am growing impatient with both of them.
The two of them should not have to work together all the time, and I do not expect them to resolve their issues early on. The ending scene also deserves some kudos, as I felt like I was watching The Last of Us with the way the church and cross were shot.
No matter what Maggie said to Negan, Negan made it clear that her opinions did not matter at that moment as she needed to face reality to make a decision for Alden’s current state.
One of the best parts of “Hunted” are the scenes between Carol, Magna, Kelly, and Rosita. We have not seen someone on The Walking Dead trying to capture a horse in a really long time. The scenario here with the four appealed to me. In addition to discussing lingering issues from the previous season, the characters were also talking about them during this short mission. Carol’s decision to kill one of the horses, however, is controversial. On one hand, the residents need food. Additionally, the residents need horses. I am sure that this will be up for a discussion among The Walking Dead fandom.
As with many episodes of The Walking Dead, “Hunted” starts with a great action scene followed by a great character development across the board. Nothing felt out of place to me as I really enjoyed it! And I think I want to see more from the younger kids playing cards! And this week’s winner of the line of the episode goes to Gabriel!
Fans of The Walking Dead are going to be in for a treat tonight when the season 11 premiere airs.
The highest ranking security guard, Mercer will make his long awaited debut on tonight’s episode. Earlier this year, It was announced that Michael James Shaw will play as Mercer. In issue #177 of The Walking Dead, Mercer was introduced for the first time. Additionally, he appears on the cover of that issue.
There is more to Michael James Shaw than playing the character. On this exclusive that happened during the virtual press junket, I asked Eleanor Matsuura, Melissa McBride, Khary Payton, and Josh McDermitt what was it like to work with him. The cast dished out some details about their experience working with Michael James Shaw.
Eleanor: “He’s a Big Guy. I know Mercer is from the comics and all, but if there was anyone that could be an incarnation of him, that’s Michael. He’s built and he could hit me out with one hand and throw me around. And then you work with him, he is the sweetest, softest, funniest, and nervous kind of guy. He is the opposite of what you expect him to be. And then when he is Mercer, it is like “woah, he is so cool.” I love it when you work with people who are different from their character.”
Melissa: “Someone else that is like that is Cassidy McClincy. When she is on the set, she is in the mood of raw and full of emotion. Then when the director yells ‘cut’, she falls apart laughing. She is pure fun and joy when I worked with her. Cassidy and Michael are obviously different, but I can see the comparison between them when they are in character and not in character. Michael is a sweetheart and that tall man brings a unique aura to the show.”
Khary: “Those are really great examples! I do not recognize Cassidy sometimes when we are on set. When she plays Lydia, her smile goes away. I remember looking at her and not recognizing her for a minute because I’m just not used to seeing that bubbly version of herself. Michael is the same way. You come upon this huge bear of a man as you slowly get to know him. Its like when you come up to him and you think you should be on your guard or he might throw all kinds of testosterone on you. By the end of the day, you wonder how I can get this big bear of a man into my arms because I want to hold him like a baby! But he is just too big.”
Melissa: “I would like to see you hold him like a baby Khary!”
Khary: “I know!”
Eleanor: “There’s four of us that need to try to hug him!”
Josh: “We did scenes with him and his size and intimidation as the Mercer character really suits him. The thing that struck me with him Julian, is his performance. This is a guy we just spent the last few minutes talking about his size and he can certainly do his performance that way. When I was acting across from him, he had this intensity in him when he speaks and when he changes his facial expressions. Then when it was time to cut, it was the slightest change to the softness and I appreciate that. He is a tremendous actor and a wonderful human being. I am sad that this is our final season and that we didn’t get to have more seasons with him!”
I remember when Space Jam was released in the 1990s, and it was a fun movie. With age, I became more conscious of the flaws in the film. Even though it remains fun, I would not call it perfect. A sequel to Space Jam had been talked about for a long time, but it never seemed to happen.
However, the discussions intensified during the last few years, and the resolution was achieved. My reactions to the idea were mixed, because I would have preferred some more original take on it. No matter what, I did not see any problem with updating Space Jam to the newer generations.
Compared to the original, this film does not stand out as anything exceptional. Rather than writing a clever plot, the original movie set up a premise well. The first film is much more magical than Space Jam: A New Legacy. We are given a few lines of introduction to this villain, but his character is never fully developed. Furthermore, I’m generally fine with a film doing something and accepting it for what it is. A fatal flaw in this film is that it tries to explain everything in a manner that is realistic and serious. There’s no need for that!
While the last ten minutes of the film have some emotional impact, the rest of the film is impersonal. It lacks emotion and thought. In addition, Warner Media’s properties appear to be used extensively in this film. The two hour commercial was non stop. Not to mention Michael B. Jordan’s bait and switch!
Although LeBron’s basketball skills are numerous and world renowned, his acting skills pale in comparison to Jordan’s. In other words, he is wooden without a basketball in his hand, and frankly, he is boring to watch. Supporting cast also fails to impress. There is no good outcome from any of it.
There was some connection between Space Jam and space. Even that isn’t in this movie because I felt like the name of this movie was used as a trap to exploit the branding name of what we remembered when we were all kids.
Dwight and Sherry’s reunion on Fear The Walking Dead has not been all roses and flowers the entire time. There was past trauma that Sherry shared with Dwight on what she went through with Negan. But by the end of the season, it seems like Sherry and Dwight are back together for good.
Christine Evangelista breaks down everything that happened between Sherry and Dwight on the season six finale of Fear The Walking Dead in this exclusive interview along with what she would like to see on the seventh season.
How did you and Austin Amelio prepare for the warhead landing scene?
CE: “The scene where they’re coming out of the house and the scene right after they shoot the guy and head back into the basement when the bomb going off was really intense. The tunnel that they go into the bunker was built on a soundstage. So they built this bunker that we dove into. And the entire thing is built on these mechanics that vibrate and move and all the shelves are knocking down and dust going everywhere. And it was a really intense scene to shoot. Because of that, you don’t know what is going to fall on top of you. So how do you prepare for an atomic bomb going off? I don’t know. But you just do. And it was legitimately scary because we’re in this device that was moving and vibrating and things were flying all over the place.”
Do you know if everyone shot their explosion scenes the same day as you and Amelio did, or were they all different days?
CE: “They were all set on different days because everyone was in different locations.”
Based on your experience being a featured character on The Walking Dead and Fear The Walking Dead, were there any differences between acting on both shows?
CE: “Fear The Walking Dead and The Walking Dead are so similar in so many ways. And the point of obviously a lot of the cast is the same. We have Lenny, we have Austin and myself. But we also have a lot of our writers and executive producers and directors go back and forth. So I’ve been able to work with the same people on both shows. What’s been exciting about Fear The Walking Dead, especially this season, which is really unique to both shows, is that we’ve been able to shoot it in this anthology style. Which means that each episode is more character driven or you’re not having so many different characters in one episode and they’re just following one story the whole time. So you’ll see a day in the life of Sherry and Dwight. And for an actor, it’s really fulfilling because every episode has like an arc to it, like a real beginning, middle and end. And it’s been really great to go into Fear The Walking Dead while it’s doing this anthology style format and be able to really tell the story of what happened to Sherry. We don’t really know what happened. We don’t know how she’s different or what’s been going on the past few years. I mean, the last time we saw Sherry was years ago. So it’s been really cool to now pick this all up and be able to do the story justice, really tell it in a full way. So that’s been really exciting and like such a unique opportunity.”
As a viewer, are you relieved to see Sherry not go after Negan anymore when she realized that it is not worth doing so?
CE: “I think Sherry’s relieved, but I’m relieved also. I think even just as a viewer, I love that these characters are able to be together again and also that Sherry is able to, in some way move on from it and to get her power back and to not just chase the wrong God, as I say all the time. She’s just able to move on, be with her partner and maybe use all this experience that she had to help other people. And I think that’s really exciting. But it’s definitely a relief for everyone now.”
Now that the warhead has dropped and obliterated the entire area, I would like to see a situation like the video game Fallout where everyone is going to have to think of ways to gather resources in a nuclear environment while also protecting themselves. Is this something you would like to see for the seventh season?
CE: “Yeah, I think it’s so interesting. I remember when they told me that there was going to be a massive bomb that was going to go off and radiation was going to take over life as they know it. And I couldn’t even believe it because it’s going to change the dynamics of everything. You know, if you think about it, resources right now aren’t really available. After radiation and the bomb goes off, it’s going to be even less. And I think you could really bring out the worst in people. It’s a really scary situation. A lot of people died in the finale episode. And I think that mixed with life changing as they know it, is going to be really complicated and it’s going to make people choose a different path in life. And it doesn’t always bring out the best in people. So I think it’s going to be a very intense season because of that, It’s not just even about the walkers anymore and it’s not even just about the people that they know. It’s now you have this added element of this bomb destroying everything in sight. And I mean everything from like food to water, just think about how difficult things are going to be for them.”
Who did you like working with the most during this season?
CE: “Austin’s always amazing, and I was so excited to work with him again. He is just fantastic. We started this whole journey together. So it’s really cool. And it was almost like neither of us ever left. We just got back to working together. And we’re just good friends. I really love Jenna Elfman. I was always such a fan of her from Dharma and Greg. And to see her in this role of June, which is entirely different. That show was really cool. And she’s so committed to the character and she’s such a fantastic actress. And I just really love hanging out with her and like shooting the show. Everyone’s amazing, really. Everyone’s great. Mo Collins is great. She’s so funny. And she brings such a levity to the performance, which is really great to watch in a show that’s really difficult and challenging and dark in a lot of ways. I mean, everyone is so talented, but it’s cool that there’s so many great female characters on the show too.
Aisha Tyler has done practically everything in Hollywood: acting, voiceover work, hosting, directing, writing, and producing. She has been in the industry for over 25 years with several projects in her name. Aisha Tyler is also a fan of The Walking Dead and she as also appeared on AMC’s Talking Dead.
Last November, it was announced that Aisha Tyler will direct an episode of Fear The Walking Dead. It turned out that she directed the episode “J.D” and Aisha Tyler is here to break down directing this monumental episode in this exclusive interview.
You’ve been a fan of The Walking Dead for some time now, and this is now your first episode in the franchise that you directed. How excited were you when you first got the news?
Aisha: “Incredibly excited. I wish I could come up with some phrase that’s like spectacularly descriptive, but I was thrilled because it had been something I’ve been hoping to do for a long time. And I had had some meetings with AMC where we talked about the fact that I love the franchise. I would love the opportunity to direct, but I don’t know that I thought it was going to happen. So you’re kind of always just doing your work. I was off directing other stuff. And it was just a thrill when it came back around.”
Do you remember exactly where you were or what you were doing when you got the call that AMC wanted you to direct the episode?
Aisha: “That’s a really good question. I don’t. It’s all just blended into a beautiful golden memory. I do remember that I did a zoom call with the show runners Ian and Andrew, and that was great. We just hit it off. And a friend of mine and I were texting and I got the email from my management team and I was like, “I got the job!” I do remember that. I just remember that I was very excited.”
Knowing that Fear The Walking Dead was filmed during the pandemic, what were some challenges you had to endure as a director?
Aisha: “Well, the biggest issue right now for covid productions other than testing is a shorter shoot day. And so that’s just challenging. You just have less time to do the same amount of work. And that remains the challenge across this episode. But luckily, because the episode was essentially set over a single day, we could only shoot from sunup to sundown. And that natural kind of time limit meant that we had to work really effectively and efficiently, which we did. So it was exhilarating. You’re always rushing when you’re directing. Every day is just a sprint. But it was beautiful and enjoyable and we were able to get done.”
This episode is a tribute to John Dorie Jr. I thought that the eulogy scene was beautiful from the way it was shot and with the way Jenna Elfman delivered her lines. What are the conversations like between you and Jenna when it came to crafting that scene?
Aisha: “We had a really good conversation before we started shooting the episode about how she felt about it as an actor and what was her character was going through. And, you know, this was really June’s first real moment where she allowed herself to mourn John. She just been on this kind of mad sprint to redeem herself and really driven by grief and by anger at the world about herself. And this was her opportunity to say goodbye. So we really wanted to make sure that we honored that moment for her because it was a really transformational one for June. And I think also on a larger level with Dwight and Sherry. John and June’s relationship represented something really specific in their world, which is that it’s possible to find beauty and it’s possible to find love in a terrible state of affairs in the world around them. And so I really wanted to make sure that there was a lot of beauty in that scene and a lot of love and that it wasn’t just sad because it was all of our opportunities to both say goodbye to a character that we all really love and also to celebrate the beauty of that relationship.”
Were there any scenes that you directed for this episode that you felt like you wanted to put yourself in any of the character’s shoes, whether it was June, Dwight, Sherry or John Sr?
Aisha: “Not really. When you’re directing, you get to be in everybody’s shoes all the time. That’s really the nature of being a director. You’re kind of inside all of it all the time. And that’s why I love directing because I really get to care for everybody on set and think about every every character and their experience and their journey. And I get to put my feet in the shoes of the fifth character, which is the audience. And I really get to be a part of things and thinking about how the audience will experience this episode and how they’ll connect with the characters. So that’s the coolest thing about being a director, is you get to play all the roles.”
Are there any past episodes of either The Walking Dead or Fear The Walking Dead that you wish you had the chance to direct?
Aisha: “Well, my favorite episode of The Walking Dead and there are a lot of really good ones, is ‘Clear.’ It’s the episode where we find Morgan again. And I love that episode of television as one of my favorite episodes of television period because it’s so incredibly layered and emotional and it really focuses on what grief and loss do to a person. And Lenny James is just such an extraordinary actor. And I just remember crying through the whole episode because it was just so beautiful and so painful and it was so tender. And seeing Rick and Morgan together again was so wonderful. But it wasn’t the reunion we all expected them to have as fans. And just to see the shell around Morgan kind of crack a little bit of him, connect with human beings again after all that time suffering alone was just such a beautiful episode.”
This week’s episode of Fear The Walking Dead titled “J.D” is a tribute to John Dorie. While the mood and tone is sad and depressing, there are plot points that opened my curious eyes. With that out of the way, here is my review.
June is still grieving John Dorie as he was killed a few episodes ago. Sure she got her revenge by killing Virginia, but the suffering of John’s death is on full display on this episode. That also came with a nice and beautiful eulogy by June later in “J.D” when it was her and a few characters standing over John’s Grave. Jenna Elfman certainly made me a believer during this sequence, as I felt her grief at John’s death. I also feel this is her best performance since joining Fear The Walking Dead a few seasons back.
While John Dorie’s grief is on show throughout the show, I believe the introduction of John Dorie Sr. could’ve been better. I realize the franchise has a cliché of long-lost characters reappearing out of nowhere, but his appearance was too soon after John Jr. died. Of all the places for them to meet, it had to be during a shootout. What are the odds of that.
I’m not sure what else we can get out of the John Dorie Sr. character, but at least he has a cause to tell the group about Teddy. It turns out that John Sr. was the one who imprisoned Teddy in the 1970s, and Teddy is the same guy he was then. The apocalypse frequently alters people’s personalities. But his did not, which is a rare occurrence in The Walking Dead’s universe. Plus, John Dorie Sr. sure survived that gunshot wound pretty fast!
Another storyline development in this episode that I was looking forward to seeing was Dwight and Sherry’s. I had been wondering for weeks if these two would be on the same page. It’s now evident that Sherry recognizes that returning to Virginia to kill Negan is a waste of time. Sherry wouldn’t even know whether she’d come back alive if she did that, so why jeopardize her shot of being with Dwight? I am delighted for these two. I, on the other hand, am not thrilled to see another horse die.
Despite the fact that this episode is slower than the other two, I embrace it. A slower-paced plot with a new mood change was greatly needed since the previous two episodes’ tones were similar. This is a fantastic memorial episode to the late John Dorie Jr., and I really enjoyed it!
Paola Lazaro has had a great time playing as The Princess on The Walking Dead. The funny, bubbly personality of the charismatic character is a bright spot in the dark world. But on tonight’s episode “Splinter”, The Princess is in a dark place.
I recently got the chance to speak with Paola Lazaro about the episode. We also go over what is to come for the character in the future, the possible Mercer pairing, and more on this exclusive interview
What went through your head when it was discovered that Princess beat up that Commonwealth soldier and not Ezekiel?
PL: “I think it was like blind rage. Princess went on overdrive and reverted back to being a child and feeling like she had no agency or control of her life. In the moment when she sees the soldier and she’s able to have control over something, she goes overboard with that control. I think that is a result of trauma and PTSD from her childhood.”
This episode really explored Princess’ PTSD and mental health. How did you get into the mindset of a person that went through what she went through after seeing her as a fun and expressive character?
PL: “Comedic characters tend to be comedic because they have a dark past that they can use to lighten and create comedy out of their dark past or dark reality. And for me, I am a very light, fun, and welcoming person. But I also have my dark side too. So I had to tap in both those worlds and for me, it was exciting to tap into her dark side because it explains why she is so bubbly. It is her defense mechanism to be big, funny and loud even though it comes from fear and pain.”
Eleanor could not be physically there for this episode, can you tell me how her voice was used for your scene talking to her?
PL: “The production crew asked me who I wanted to read her role that we were shooting my part of the scene. I asked Khary to do it. What we did is Khary, Eleanor, and I got together on facetime to go over the scene to see what Eleanor, Khari, and I wanted to bring out in the moment. It was really beautiful that we got together in that way so we can have each other’s presence in that moment. Eleanor, Khary, Josh, and I are super tight, and we are so supportive of each other and I am grateful for that.”
On issue #175, it was Lance that asked the questions to the group at the trainyard. On Splinter, it is a Commonwealth soldier. Did the soldier have a name because fans might mistake him as Lance?
PL: “I love working with the actors. I do not remember the soldier having a name when we all went over the script. But working with the actor was fantastic and he was really great and fun to work with. It was also a very physical scene and you have to be very respectful with your scene partner and very respectful with each other especially when it is physical. He was just great to work with”
Going into this episode, did you know early on of the plot of who it would explore Princess’ mind of what was going on over what really happened?
PL: “I receive the episode once it is written and once it is approved by various people and groups. When I got it, I read it while I was in my bathtub. While I was reading it, all the sudden the twist comes. It is well written, that I did not know it was going to happen until I finished reading it. That is how well these writers craft their work and I was completely blown away.”
Comic readers and fans cannot wait to see Princess and Mercer team up. Without giving too much away since you are part of the upcoming season that recently started filming, any hints of this popular pair up could happen in season 11?
PL: “I have no idea what is in stored for the two of them because we have not filmed a scene together yet! I have meet Michael J. Shaw and he is fantastic. I am hopeful to have scenes with him in the future because I love their relationship in the comic book. I think it is unique and specific to the two of them. I think that they are such different characters and they are an exciting duo.”
This week’s “Young Rock” sees the debut of more big names in the wrestling universe. More specifically, Vince McMahon, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, and King Kong Bundy. There is more to unpack on this episode “Forward Together” than the debuts however.
The central story is Rocky Johnson seeking out for an action figure deal after he sees that Andre The Giant got a prototype of his figure. This all happens while he and Young Rock were planning the next autograph session. Towards the end of the session, a toy developer comes to Rocky’s table to pitch to him that he can make Rocky Johnson figures. You can tell that this person is shady due to his cowboy boots being the same color as UWF promoter Herb Abrams.
Now to Vince McMahon. Mark Taylor plays as Vince McMahon. It took me a few minutes to not think of the Vince McMahon character that I seen on television for years and to see this version of McMahon on a business side. While I did not sense or see the mannerisms and voice of Vince that Mark Taylor acted, He did good on the way Vince McMahon was in the early 1980’s when he was a boss than a character.
Kevin Makely as Macho Man did not work for me. He looked, talked, and acted like a cosplayer than me suspending my disbelief to believe that he could be Macho Man at that time period. Macho Man was a force to be reckoned with even outside of the ring.
Kevin Makely did not bring that larger than life persona of the WWE legend on the screen. I was really looking forward to seeing him as Macho Man. But it turned out to be the Nacho Man.
There are also great subplots on this episode of “Young Rock” that I did also like. Ata watching home movies with Sika and Lia. The barbecue where they all discussed the battle royal plans and discovering why King Kong Bundy and Junkyard Dog backed out the match. And Young Rock asking for an alcoholic beverage before Ata and Rocky joking with him that he cannot have it are bright spots.
The end of this episode is an ad for his presidential campaign and this was an odd choice to end an episode. Other than a few hiccups, I enjoyed it!
The Walking Dead has finally found the actor to play as the head of security at The Commonwealth Mercer. That person that will be Mercer is Michael James Shaw.
Michael James Shaw is best known for his roles as FBI Agent Daryl in Limitless, and Aiden Shaw on Blood & Treasure. Most recently, Michael James Shaw appeared on the Marvel Cinematic Universe films Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame as Black Order member Corvus Glaive.
Mercer first appeared on The Walking Dead comic book series back in 2018 on issue #177. He is also on the cover of that issue and it is also an introduction to the character. From issue #177-#193, Mercer attempts an uprising against Pamela and The Commonwealth due to how things are operated over there. Mercer also has a number of verbal conflicts with Pamela’s son Sebastian during the time as well.
Mercer’s attempted uprising was stopped by Rick Grimes as Rick did not want a war against The Commonwealth. Outside of the uprising, Mercer develops a close relationship with The Princess and they eventually become a couple. On the last issue which was #193, Mercer and Princess are still together over 25 years later and they both have a dog that they both love.
It will be quite interesting to see how the television version of Mercer will be similar or different than his comic book counterpart. But I know for sure that fans of The Walking Dead are ready to see Mercer and The Princess team up to take down walkers!
Are you excited to see Michael James Shaw as Mercer? Or do you think someone else should have been Mercer?
This week’s episode of “Young Rock” teaches the viewer a valuable lesson. That is, after the huge spotlight of a major star is over, they have to wrestle at smaller scale shows.
That is the focus for this episode of “Young Rock” as Dwayne Johnson told the story to the reporter about taking Karen on a date to a wrestling show. Teenage Rock wanted to do as much as he can to convince Karen to go out on a date with him. When she does, the most interesting aspect of professional wrestling is on full display.
“Young Rock” did not shy away from the reality of wrestling that the casual fan would never know. And Karen was exposed to this when she saw where the actual show took place. It was at a local carnival where there were less than fifteen people at the show. Even though Karen did not like the environment, Teenage Rock was also there to support Rocky Johnson and this shows that anyone should support their family and friends no matter how big or small the crowd is.
Fifteen people or not, what mattered most is that everyone left home happy. Not everyone did as Rocky Johnson was stiffed out of pay from the shady promoter. The promoter promised Rocky Johnson more money than what he paid him and they both had a conversation about that. Shady independent wrestling promoters are still like this to this day so I was not surprised to see this went down the way it did.
I also started to root for Teenage Rock when he punched the kid at the school hallway for poking fun at Rocky Johnson’s appearance at the independent show. Rock did this while also saying the same words Andre The Giant said to him when he was younger about the “F” word.
Also during this episode, Rocky Johnson had matches against Ric Flair and Roddy Piper that are told in flashbacks that I enjoyed.
Overall, I enjoyed “On The Road Again” far better than the pilot as it showed the trials that every professional wrestler has to go through. It affects them in each level no matter how big of a star they are, or was. Some may see this like a step down to the fans that idolizes the mega stars. But this should be a valuable lesson to every fan of wrestling once they see this episode. Professional wrestlers are normal people too and they have families to support.