The Walking Dead World Beyond Returns With a Confusing and yet Enjoyable Second Season

Alexa Mansour as Hope – The Walking Dead: World Beyond _ Season 2, Episode 1 – Photo Credit: Steve Swisher/AMC

The Walking Dead World Beyond’s first season concluded with a cliffhanger that will be explored on the second season. The reception of the first season has been mixed. I, for one can agree with the reception as I felt like it was a chore at times to get through the first season with the exception of the last half of the first season.

With all of that aside, I got a chance to watch the first two episodes of the second season. Here are my non-spoiler thoughts broken down by each episode.

Episode one titled Konsekans, follows up with the end of the very first episode of the series in a massive way. Although I cannot say what happens at the moment, but there are missing items from the first season about CRM that are addressed right away. The thing here is, why was this moment not shown on the first season of World Beyond? Elizabeth is also heavily featured on the first episode as well as she wants Hope to work with CRM.

My take on some of the dialogue exchanged between Elizabeth and Huck is that the two actresses do not have good chemistry on screen together. But I am sure that it will get better more episodes into the second season of World Beyond. Speaking of following up, Will told Felix and Hope the story of what happened to him prior to the season one finale of World Beyond. It is an interesting story. However, I wished it could have been fleshed out more for me to care about the character.

There are things that do get a bit confusing with one of the character’s hallucination sequences. Get ready because it is there for the majority of the second half of this episode. The end of this sequence is satisfying though. It is just how it begins and what happens in between is what boggles my mind.

Iris became my favorite character on this episode. Especially towards the end when she does something major. In the universe of The Walking Dead, we are used to seeing adults and kids doing this whether if they are in a community, or not. Here on World Beyond, it strikes different because everyone never left their community before to deal with doing what needs to be done at that moment. It is a good scene!

Nicolas Cantu as Elton – The Walking Dead: World Beyond _ Season 2, Episode 4 – Photo Credit: Steve Swisher/AMC

If you take out the hallucination scenes and watch this episode of World Beyond, it is enjoyable. The second episode titled Foothold is better than the first episode. There are a large number of things I cannot spoil, but you will learn more about CRM on this episode than the entire first season of The Walking Dead World Beyond.

I can also say that the plot is moving very fast this time just on these first two episodes alone that is keeping me engaged to learn more. There is also dialogue that is still suited for a high school play. But not overbearing like the first season. Overall, this season starts off stronger than the last even though parts are hard to follow.

Follow me on Instagram and Twitter @julianexcalibur for more content.

The Walking Dead Season 11, Episode 5 “Out of the Ashes” Review

Josh Hamilton as Lance Hornsby – The Walking Dead _ Season 11, Episode 5 – Photo Credit: Josh Stringer/AMC

Ladies and Gentlemen, “Out of the Ashes” is the best episode of the first half of the final season. The Walking Dead proves time and time again why it is the show to watch on Sunday nights and this episode is one of them.

Whenever Ross Marquand’s character Aaron is the central character on an episode, he knocks it out the park. From the nightmare sequence that brought back past villains such as The Wolves, The Saviors, and The Whisperers, to him waking up back to reality, Aaron is dealing with the pressure of being the man in charge of Alexandria missions. One of them, is for them to make sure the walls are up. And another sets them off to a trip to The Hilltop.

The reason for this trip is to see what tools are left over there to use due to the attack of The Whisperers. Aaron and the rest that are with him such as Lydia, Carol, and Jerry, realize that the last remaining members of The Whisperers are hoarding walkers around. It is here that Aaron goes to a zone we have not seen him in before.

Desperate for answers, Aaron interrogates the one Whisperer and I got a quick laugh out of it when he asked for his name while also reiterating to him “No Alpha or Beta ****.” The interrogation did go too far as Carol pointed out and they did stop until he revealed the location of where Connie is. I found these scenes very engaging and well acted!

Speaking of Acting, Cailey Fleming made me feel for her as Judith misses Michonne very much. The bullying of her by those kids in the episode and the nearly destruction of her last memory of Carl Grimes made me even more sad for her. However, Judith stood her ground and showed those kids why she should not be messed with. In addition, it’s great to see her train the next generation!

Josh McDermitt as Dr. Eugene Porter, Margot Bingham as Max – The Walking Dead _ Season 11, Episode 5 – Photo Credit: Josh Stringer/AMC

Over at The Commonwealth, Yumiko finally meets her brother for the first time in over a decade, Princess and Ezekiel tried to help Eugene as he wanted to use the radio to contact Alexandria. He did, but he paid a price for it by getting arrested at The Commonwealth. Even though Lance let them free, they will have to pay for it. And do you think it is crazy that The Commonwealth uses money as currency?

I also wonder when the real Stephanie is going to introduce herself to Eugene. We saw her at the ice cream truck for a quick second as he was still with the decoy Stephanie. The reveal must happen soon! Maggie and Negan did not escape my mind. As for their ongoing feud, I think it’s safe to say that it has me siding with Negan on Maggie’s current status. It is important to understand that I am referring to Maggie’s reckless decisions at the moment, not to what Negan did to Glenn. Maggie was right about one thing, though. It is to wait until other people arrive. And Gabriel and Elijah did come later that day.

This episode of The Walking Dead saw the plot advance for the first time since the first episode of this season. The Walking Dead’s final season has a great bright spot in “Out of the Ashes,” after an awful episode last week. Every episode of this franchise should feature great acting, fast-paced action, and an engaging story. And all of that is cramed into this week’s episode! Also, that 90’s themed introduction to The Commonwealth reminded me of Wandavision for a moment! I cannot wait for next week’s episode!

Follow me on Instagram and Twitter @julianexcalibur for more content.

My Slasher: Flesh & Blood Non-Spoiler Preview

Paula Brancati as Christy Martin, Chris Jacot as Seamus – Slasher _ Season 4, Episode 1 – Photo Credit: Cole Burston/Shudder

Netflix is where I learned about the horror show Slasher. In 2020, AMC announced that it had acquired Slasher and it would air exclusively on Shudder. Watching the first two episodes of Slasher: Flesh & Blood gave me a chance to formulate my thoughts on the series!

The series “Flesh and Blood” is right up my alley, recalling everything from Agatha Christie to CBS’ short-lived “Harper’s Island.” This is actually an excellent pitch for “Slasher: Flesh & Blood”: “Succession with violent, gory murder scenes.” Who wouldn’t want to watch that?

A branch of the Galloway family is headed by David Cronenberg, the King of Horror himself. A wealthy family gathers on an island retreat for a reunion under the sway of the vicious leader Spencer Galloway. It’s not surprising that Spencer keeps a few secrets, including that he’s reviving a tradition that was retired 25 years ago. To this point, Spencer had pitted relatives against each other in endless rounds of challenges and games. 

Sydney Meyer as Liv – Slasher _ Season 4, Episode 4 – Photo Credit: Cole Burston/Shudder

During one of these challenges, Spencer’s grandsons were kidnapped for a gold bar worth almost $200,000. What is this year’s contest prize? Millions of dollars worth of fortune. The cast of characters also discuss the missing boy’s story over the course of the episode, which is the 25th anniversary of his disappearance.  

A murderous serial killer is also behind the ground, waiting to reveal these individuals’ darkest secrets before burying them. The season includes a humorous twist where they may kill each other and catch the serial killer. While there is little opportunity to comment on social issues between the characters in the game, at first it appears as if the personalities in it are similar to those in “Knives Out.”

Even though Grace (Rachael Crawford) believes she earned what she has through marriage, she believes the things she has are not hers alone except for her son Jayden (Corteon Moore). In spite of striving hard for the family business, Seamus (Chris Jacot) receives no respect from his father, even when Christy (Paula Brancati) and Aphra (Nataliya Rodina) try to comfort him. 

Sabrina Grdevich as Florence – Slasher _ Season 4, Episode 3 – Photo Credit: Cole Burston/Shudder

Although Florence (Sabrina Grdevich) is one of the most disliked Galloway twins out there, the loss of her son a quarter-century ago leaves her feeling nostalgic for the remaining twin Theo (Alex Ozerov). That’s only a small part of this giant cast, which also includes Theo’s sister O’Keeffe (Breton Lalama), the housekeeper Birgit (Patrice Goodman), her daughter Liv (Sydney Meyer), and Spencer’s doctor (Jeananne Goossen).

In comparison with the previous seasons, the season premiere of Slasher: Flesh & Blood feels all over the place. It is still a jaw-dropping experience to watch the violence and gore. 

Probably due to the show killing so many people by the end. It appears at times that some of the actors are playing daytime television characters rather than movie slashers. I don’t want a masterpiece of acting on a 5 star budget. Just make it plausible. There’s not much left to say about the season premiere, but it will cut deep into any horror fans’ hearts until September.

Follow me on Instagram and Twitter @julianexcalibur for more content.

The Walking Dead’s Season 11 Premiere Brings Back The Horror That Was Missing!

Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon – The Walking Dead _ Season 11 – Photo Credit: Josh Stringer/AMC

AMC’s The Walking Dead will kick off their 11th and final season on August 22, 2021. I was given access to the first two episodes of the season back in July. Although I would love to give you all the juicy details of the episodes, I cannot go in detail with certain plot points. For now, here is my non-spoiler preview of The Walking Dead’s 11A premiere.

I will also note that these two episodes are titled “Acheron Part 1” and “Acheron Part 2.” These two are not airing back to back and these were the rough cut versions of the episodes.

What I like about Part 1 and Part 2, is how the boundaries are tested. Those mostly have to do with Maggie and Negan. The two of them are reaching a level of a big clash that I believe will happen later in the season. Their tension that is building up on Part 1 that is carried into part 2 also affects the group too. But not to the point of who’s side is one person is on. More like if what one person is trying to make sense over another in the current situation. I will have to say this, one line said from one of the characters will have a trigger warning. What happens after that said line is exactly what that character deserved at that moment.

The atmosphere truly brought out the threatening horror of The Walking Dead, which has been missing for quite some time. It is no surprise that AMC has managed to capture the horror vibe on the show from the abandoned train station to the military compound. Especially the first opening minutes where one move wrong could have been a disaster for the group. Additionally, the group encountered a very disgusting walker who almost resulted in one of them losing his life. However, there was one character who made sure it wouldn’t happen.

The sound department also gets a high praise from me. The score, and how the sound was used for one particular scene made me question whether if it was reality or just part of the episode. And I am not sure if it is because these are the earlier versions of the episodes, but one line said from a character is muted. I read that character’s lips when it was muted and it might have been a “F” bomb (Editor’s Note: I watched the final cut of the episode last week and the line was unmuted. No “F” bomb to be heard).

One question that ran through my mind during the first two episodes was about the status of Alexandria. There was no explanation on what happened to the community. I hope this will get addressed later on in the season.

What you knew about Maggie a long time ago, is completely gone. Although I will refrain from calling her a “Dark Maggie”, she is different and cold. You’ll have to discover what the reason is, but there is one. As far as I recall, Rosita, Aaron, and even Carol did not get much screentime in the first two episodes. But when they were on screen, it did matter!

Josh McDermitt as Dr. Eugene Porter – The Walking Dead _ Season 11 – Photo Credit: Josh Stringer/AMC

I did not forget to mention Eugene, Yumiko, Princess, and Ezekiel. It might have been debatable whether if their scenes could have been one episode, but It worked for these two. They have not stepped foot in The Commonwealth yet, but they are questioned for a long period of time. There were multiple times that this sequence was showed to us as a split screen. Speaking of The Commonwealth, Mercer is here! I will not disclose which episode he debuts on, but Mercer is more menacing and threatening than he is over his comic book counterpart.

The scenes with the guards were good, and I liked their interactions with them, but there was one major scene that caught me by surprise. Whether the actress is being recast or if the character is a decoy is unclear, but I was caught off guard when I saw it. Furthermore, a revelation to one of the characters is also depicted in the comics in a similar manner if you understand what I mean.

I do also feel that 11×01 should have been longer, or aired alongside of 11×02 based on what happened at the end of 11×01. And a few minutes before the end of 11×02, be sure to pay close attention to the area!

That is it for my preview. While the first episode of the final season is not as strong as the season 10 premiere, it did made me look forward to the rest of the season. I am sure that fans of The Walking Dead are happy that the show is back. I can also say that The Walking Dead is back and better than ever!

Be sure to check out my weekly recaps of this season along with interviews from the cast. Follow me on Instagram and Twitter @julianexcalibur for more content.

The Suicide Squad is a Fun and Bloody Mess!

With the insertion of the word “The” to the title as the only acknowledgment that it is the second film in the series, the title seems to be a dig at its 2016 predecessor, Suicide Squad, which was widely panned. Even though that movie could have been a random take on The Suicide Squad, the new movie is The Suicide Squad, and that’s what counts.

In the DC Cinematic Universe, the Suicide Squad occupies an odd spot. Though it’s not the sequel to Suicide Squad, it’s a kind of sequel nonetheless. Even though it isn’t a reboot, it works in the same way. There is a new creator with this film – James Gunn who did the Guardians of the Galaxy. A much more violent version of the already ultra-violent original, it is rated R. Characters from the show are some of the same ones (and actors), while others are different. The film does not feature Jared Leto as the Joker, which is a good thing. While definitely better than its predecessor, it isn’t all that great by itself.

James Gunn’s track record as a writer and director would fit well with such a film. In addition to being based on characters in the comic books who were relatively unknown at the time of the films, the Suicide Squad is a throwback to Gunn’s early days in film making.

In summary, The Suicide Squad is cheesy, gory, funny, a bit goofy (always a plus for a DCEU film), but it makes little or no sense. Death is a common occurrence in the plot – mostly violent – and the villain is a monster starfish that threatens to end the world. For all its flaws, The Suicide Squad isn’t a bad film in the least. It was very humorous to see all the characters interact with one another and the brutal deaths that took place in the movie.

The main problem with this film (as with the Guardians of the Galaxy films as well) is that the antiheroes are, on the whole, not that exciting or likable. During the course of the second film, Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) is the only fascinating character who develops a wider-eyed perspective.

While the other characters have their moments, such as John Cena as Peacemaker and Idris Elba as Bloodsport, King Shark (voiced by Sylvester Stallone as Steve Agee) offers a lot more entertaining moments than his predecessor did.

Although The Suicide Squad is an entertaining movie, there are two significant problems. A major problem with the story is its lack of involvement. As the Squad is assigned a top-secret mission, there is little room for plot development or character development if the mission does not make sense. It’s not unreasonable to expect a film called The Suicide Squad to have both of these elements.

As well as the flaws discussed above, The Suicide Squad depicts shocking violence in an overly violent manner. The gore and violence aren’t a problem for me, but the casual viewer would find it excessive. The first DC movie’s R rating opens the floodgates for more blood and even some sex scenes, as the Deadpool films experienced in the outer reaches of the Marvel universe, however, the blood and guts eventually subside. When presented with extreme violence, an audience is close to being anesthetized.

The Suicide Squad would have been better if it demonstrated a certain amount of self-restraint and tact. However, a film which is populated with criminals probably shouldn’t ask for too much of either. I can see what a DCEU entry might have become if the movie had been a part of the wider DCEU. However, this one appears to be anomalous as well.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Suicide Squad, an improvement over the 2016 film and it made me forget that it even existed. This is DCEU’s Guardians of the Galaxy in its finest and most violent form, and I can see myself watching it again!

Follow me on Instagram and Twitter @julianexcalibur for more content.

Fear The Walking Dead Season 6, Episode 8 “The Door” Review

Garret Dillahunt as John Dorie – Fear the Walking Dead _ Season 6, Episode 8 – Photo Credit: Ryan Green/AMC

The last time Fear The Walking Dead pulled off an unexpected death was in season 4. That is when Nick was killed by Charlie. This time, a major character was killed off on “The Door” and that is John.

I am puzzled by this decision to get rid of John like this. There was so much more that could have been done with the popular character as I did not feel that his story arc was over yet. But what I learned with Nick and Travis, is that I cannot get too attached with the characters.

Putting that aside, “The Door” is a fantastic episode. Garret Dillard’s acting on this episode of Fear The Walking Dead is masterful and believable to the point that I started to feel bad for him. I also love how the beginning of “The Door” tied in with the end of the episode. John was shooting walkers from inside his cabin to outside by the lake at the start. And at the end, June saw John as a walker from inside the cabin to outside in the same viewpoint.

Lennie James as Morgan Jones, Garret Dillahunt as John Dorie – Fear the Walking Dead _ Season 6, Episode 8 – Photo Credit: Ryan Green/AMC

That scene was heartbreaking. June and John brought a relationship bond to fear that rivaled Glenn and Maggie on the main show. And just like that, it was taken away from us. Also, can we stop this trope of kids killing main characters?

The other big news that came from “The Door” is that we finally have answers to the season 5 finale. Dakota revealed to Morgan after she killed John that she was not only the one that killed the ranger on the ranch, she was the one that saved Morgan when he was near death. I know for sure that this might be unpopular decision for the Fear community since everyone was hoping for Madison to be the to save Morgan.

There are really good scenes on this episode. Especially the gruesome walker killing sequence while they were on the bridge. The gore on this current season is not easy to watch if you do not like gore. There are also so many parallels between John and Rick Grimes’ final episodes that I picked up. But that will be an article for another day.

Everything that happened on “The Door” will have an affect to the rest of the season. Rest in peace John and this was an awesome episode.

Follow me on Instagram and Twitter @julianexcalibur for more content

The Walking Dead Season 10, Episode 20 “Splinter” Review

Paola Lázaro as Juanita ‘Princess’ Sanchez – The Walking Dead _ Season 10, Episode 20 – Photo Credit: Josh Stringer/AMC

It is becoming a cliche for The Walking Dead to overuse the “hallucination” trope. But tonight, it was slightly different. More on the way of the classic Tyrese death episode on The Walking Dead.

“Splinter” is centered on The Princess’ mental state during her captivity inside of the train cart by The Commonwealth soldiers. She was separated from Eugene, Yumiko, and Ezekiel in different carts and she recounts her dark past while telling her story to Yumiko.

This episode has strong performances by Paola Lazaro and Khary Payton. Especially when they had the scene of Ezekiel beating down the soldier. But to find out it was actually Princess doing that is an interesting plot twist. When that happened, I had to rewatch the entire episode to pick out what was real, and what was not real and there are a few episodes of The Walking Dead that does that the way it is presented here.

Paola Lázaro as Juanita ‘Princess’ Sanchez – The Walking Dead _ Season 10, Episode 20 – Photo Credit: Josh Stringer/AMC

The reason I said this, is because there were no signs of Princess’ hallucinations being present during the episode until the twist happened. The Princess barricaded her sadness since she meet the three and it came out while she was alone. That happens in real life and I give the writers of the episode credit for exploring this while also expanding on her comic book backstory.

There are some little details that I also liked too. From Ezekiel being with the two walkers that Princess designed before they first meet, to one of the soldiers name dropping mercer, and to the one walker saying “wait, come back to me” to Princess when she was leaving the gate area.

Whether if most of what Princess experienced really happened or not, it shows how PTSD can affect you during your lowest point of your life. Also, those Commonwealth soldiers are shown to be ruthless. But they are doing what the protocol is. I also felt that this episode had the most advancement of the plot over all of the other 10C episodes even though the ending was abrupt. Putting that ending on the past trailers was a bad decision. But I am looking forward to more of The Commonwealth in the next season.

Follow me on Instagram and Twitter @julianexcalibur for more content.

Young Rock Season 1, Episode 4 “Check Your Head” Review

YOUNG ROCK — “Check Your Head” Episode 104 — Pictured: (l-r) Stacey Leilua as Ata Johnson, Uli Latukefu as Dwayne — (Photo by: Mark Taylor/NBC)

After a two-week wait, Young Rock returns this week for a brand new episode.

“Check Your Head” is centered on Dwayne Johnson’s college football time period in the early 1990’s. If you remember, he played football in the University of Florida and while things were looking up for Dwyane, things came crashing down quickly. That is because he suffered a shoulder injury that prevented him from playing for the rest of the season. This was devastating news to his mom since she is still coping with Dwayne Johnson not being at home anymore.

But it was great to see Dwayne starting to give back to his parents when he bought them a television. It shows that Dwayne kept his word since he was younger that he would give back to his parents. The injure really affected Dwayne’s self esteem as he stop attending team meetings and his classes. I can sympathize with him because a lack of motivation kills everything that you are passionate for and it can affect everyone in your circle.

YOUNG ROCK — “Check Your Head” Episode 108 — Pictured: Uli Latukefu as Dwayne — (Photo by: Mark Taylor/NBC)

Dwayne Johnson’s depression was also picked up by Rocky Johnson as he noticed it while they had the conversation about it in the gym.Rocky Johnson assured Dwayne to not give up because he never gave up no matter what anyone said about him during his wrestling career.

There are also a few things I enjoyed about “Check Your Head” that I want to point out. One of Dwayne Johnson’s iconic photos is the fanny pack photo. His look early on in the episode is based on that photo and he also went to the club with that look. I also like the cameo of his coach at the end of this episode during the interview. A decent and fun episode!

Follow me on Instagram and Twitter @julianexcalibur for more content.

The Walking Dead Season 10, Episode 19 “One More” Review

Seth Gilliam as Gabriel, Ross Marquand as Aaron – The Walking Dead _ Season 10, Episode 19 – Photo Credit: Josh Stringer/AMC

Whenever Aaron is paired with someone for a duration of an episode of The Walking Dead, expect it to be good. In the past, Aaron has had episodes with Daryl Dixon, Rick Grimes, and even Negan. An Aaron and Gabriel pairing is something that I did not know that I wanted until now.

This week’s episode titled “One More” takes us on a journey of what Aaron and Gabriel has been up to after the aftermath of The Whisperer War. Their adventure lead up to a life or death situation by an individual named Mays (Portrayed by Robert Patrick). I have to say that the casting of Mays for this one episode is brilliant. Robert Patrick made a believer out of me when he appeared on screen. His presence, attitude, and acting really stood out to me from when he encountered Gabriel, to his sudden death by Gabriel.

Robert Patrick as Mays- The Walking Dead _ Season 10, Episode 19 – Photo Credit: Josh Stringer/AMC

I will admit that I was really bummed to see Mays killed off on The Walking Dead. But his death lead to a dark discovery that I was not anticipating. It is one thing to tell a story about how your brother died to anyone. But it is different when you find out that the brother is actually handcuffed and locked away in the roof.

The depressing scene when his brother committed suicide after Aaron and Gabriel let him loose shows how bad a mental state can go when you are isolated for years at the end of the world. It made me wonder how and why did Mays did this to his brother. A memorable performance by Robert Patrick!

I also did like Gabriel and Aaron’s interactions. Most of the conversations were focused on the both of them recounting who they were at the early years of the apocalypse and what gave them less motivation to continue what they were doing. Gabriel took the most of this as he did not want to preach anymore. But Gabriel sure did when he and Aaron were faced with the Russian Roulette game.

Small detail that I noticed is when the roulette game happened, the cards Aaron and Gabriel used to play were still on the table. To me, that signified that the game they are playing now is real and not for fun over the fun game of cards they played the night before. Also, anyone caught that whisky bottle that had Duane Jones’ picture on the front?

The other easter egg my eyes caught on too involved Gabriel. The water tower that he mentioned, and the walker that Aaron killed that landed on the machete in which its guts fell on Gabriel is a nod to his comic book death by Beta at the start of The Whisperer War.

It is too early for me to rank all of the extra The Walking Dead episodes, but “One More” is the best of the three so far. “One More” is an episode that is close to the classic episodes of The Walking Dead from the earlier seasons that I appreciate! A hidden gem of the 10th season.

Follow me on Instagram and Twitter @julianexcalibur for more content.

Young Rock Season 1, Episode 1 “Working The Gimmick” Review

YOUNG ROCK — “Pictured: “Young Rock” Key Art — (Photo by: NBC)

A biopic of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson sounds like it should be made into a feature film. But there is too much history of the professional wrestler turned actor to cover in ninety minutes. Which is why Young Rock works better as a series than a film.

Young Rock created by Dwayne Johnson and Nahnatchka Khan, tells the story of The Rock in three different decades as he grows up while his father Rocky Johnson (Joseph Lee Anderson) is a worldwide star in the wrestling industry.

The first episode titled “Working The Gimmick” sets the tone for what to expect for the rest of the season. Dwayne Johnson in the year 2032, is running for president. The TV Host that is interviewing Dwayne Johnson is portrayed by Randall Park as Dwayne explained his upbringing to the TV Host. The first story took place in 1982 as 10 year old Dwayne (Adrian Groulx) and his mother Ata Johnson (Stacey Leilua) witnessed Rocky Johnson defeating Afa Anoai at a wrestling event. Rocky was seen as a superstar in the viewers eyes. But outside of the ring, Rocky Johnson was a normal person that took care of his wife and son.

It is here where the viewers get a first look on the reality of the world of professional wrestling as the big stars have to keep a persona up whenever they are seen in public. Even if you have to stay at an old hotel for one night, that is how the business was that time.

YOUNG ROCK — “Working The Gimmick” — Pictured: (l-r) Joseph Lee Anderson as Rocky Johnson, Adrian Groulx as Dwayne, Nate Jackson as Junkyard Dog — (Photo by: Mark Taylor/NBC)

The most comedic part of this portion of the episode, is when Young Rock sees Iron Shiek, Wild Samoans, Junkyard Dog, and Andre The Giant hanging out and playing cards with Rocky Johnson. I must say that the actors that portrayed the wrestlers were spot on with the mannerisms and how they acted and sounded like the real life wrestlers at that time. The amount of research and history that went to the production of this show is amazing and I give them credit for doing so.

Rocky was only supposed to be there for a few minutes, but he ended up going out with the rest of the boys even though he promised Young Rock a trip to the ice cream store. I also love the back and forth comedy between Young Rock and Andre The Giant after Rock making a comment about wrestling not being real.

Dwayne Johnson later told the story of his teenage self (Bradley Constant) in 1987 stealing from stores, his alias Tomas while he wanted to get Karen’s attention in high school, and even buying an old car that barely even worked. I believe here , is when he starts to get a sense of how much time Rocky Johnson has been on the road since he was doing an autograph signing the day that this happened. But he did not forget his mom Ata when Teenage Rock picked her up at the bus stop.

Teenage Rock hopes to give his mom Ata everything one day and Dwayne Johnson went on record numerous times on interviews that he was always close to Ata and that is really showcased here on the first episode. Towards the end of “Working The Gimmick”, Dwayne Johnson begins to go over the beginning of his college football run in 1990. Adult Rock (Uli Latukefu) meets the players and the coach of the team.

YOUNG ROCK — “Working The Gimmick” — Pictured: Uli Latukefu as Dwayne — (Photo by: Mark Taylor)

He finds out that Rocky Johnson was there earlier in the day to tell lies about Dwayne Johnson being on the cover of Wheaties cereal. It did slightly upset him, but he used what Rocky Johnson told him for years and that is, to work his gimmick wherever he is to let them make believe that you are who they say you are. He did this by also beating the record for the most reps at the gym and proceeded to do the eyebrow that he is known for to this day after he beat the challenge.

“Working The Gimmick” is a fun introduction to the series. A great key here, is that the timeline was not all over the place as it started with his 10 year old self and finished when he was in college. I hope that this structure continues for the rest of the series with more stories to be told. It also makes me think if Dwayne Johnson himself will actually run for president one day. An amazing start of “Young Rock” which is a must see series, and NBC hit a goldmine to tell Dwayne Johnson’s story!

Follow me on Instagram and Twitter @julianexcalibur for more content.