Posts tagged dystopian fantasy.

The Walking Dead, Season Three, Episode 15: This Sorrowful Life

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Rick, Darryl and Hershel are outside of the prison making plans for Michonne.  Darryl says that it is not them but Rick responds that if they do this, they avoid a fight so no one else dies. Rick heads into the prison and stops in front of Merle, who is ripping apart a bed in a cell.  He tells Merl that they needs his help and he asks if Merle knows why he does the things that he does or the choices he makes when.  Rick says that they give the governor Michonne then Woodbury stands down.  He adds that the doesn’t like it but it’s what needs to be done. Merle asks who knows and Rick tells him Hershel, Darryl and him. Merle tells him to give Philip Michonne because he won’t kill her but take out one of her eyes.  Merle then says, you’re cold as ice officer friendly.  Merle advices they use wire not rope so that Michonne cannot chew through it  He then add that Rick is right and that he doesn’t know why he does the things he does but says that he knows rick and that he doesn’t have the spine for it.  Rick says that they needs to Michonne to the Governor by noon.

Rich rushes outside when he hears noise, but it’s just Maggie banging pots to keep the attention of walkers as Michonne walks in the field slaughtering them and Darryl, Hershel and Glenn drive a truck in.   Michonne tells Rick that they don’t have to win, they just have to make them getting to them more trouble than it’s worth.  The gang then heads back into the prison as Merle watches from a window.  Carol is putting Judith down and Merle asks her for some whiskey.  Carol asks him if he is with them and Merle tells her that he is there for his brother.  Carol replies that Darryl is with them and that it is not time to take shots but to pick side.   Merle answers that she is not like she was in the camps and doesn’t seem scared of anything anymore,  Carol says that she is not and Merle calls her a late bloomer.

Darryl and Glenn are working outside and he asks Glenn if Merle said sorry yet and that he is going to make Merle make it right.  Darryl suggests that they need a little forgiveness.  Glenn says that Merle says that he tied him to a chair, beat him and then tossed a walker in the room.  Glenn adds maybe he could call it even, but Merle took Maggie to a man who terrorized her, humiliated her. I care more about her than I do about me. Darryl then walks into the prison to find Merle.

He walks through the generator room until he finds Merle. Darryl asks what he is doing down there and if he has talked to Rick yet.  Merle says yes but that Rick doesn’t have the stomach for it.  Darryl replies if he does he does.  Merle asks if he wants him to and Darryl replies whatever he says goes.  Merle asks if Darryl even possess a pair of balls and asks him what happened to him  Darryl asks what happened with Merle, Glenn and Maggie.  Merle says that he has done worse and that Darryl needs to grow u.  Merle points out that they want t do the same thing he did and that people have to do or they die.  He suggests that people need someone like him around to do the dirty work. Darryl’s says that he wants his brother back and Merle responds that he is right there.  Merle then picks up the phone and puts it in his bag.

Hershel is reading from the bible to Beth and Maggie.  Rick is outside the prison collecting what looks to be internet cable wire and when he looks up, he again sees Lori.  He says, “you’re not there, she’s not there.”  He then drops the wire on the ground and walks away.  Inside the prison, Beth asks Hershel if he is okay and he responds, “what I wouldn’t do to keep you two safe.” Rick approaches Hershel and says that he can’t do it and that he won’t.

Merle has brought Michonne downstairs under the guise of dealing with some walkers. He uses his am to knock her unconscious and then drags her off by her feet.  Merle puts a bag over her head and then ties up her hands. Merle is walking Michonne down the street and tells her about the Governor’s offer and tells her that he got it down but Rick wouldn’t be able to.  Merle adds that Rick was the guy who came back to him but this is all on him and that it’s his job to do the dirty work.

Back at the prison, Rick tells Darryl that it’s off and that they will take their chances and then ads that he cannot find Merle and Michonne.  Darryl takes Rick to the generator room and Darryl says that this is where he took Michonne.  Rick says that he is going after him but Darryl says that just he will go and reminds Rick that he can’t track for shit.  As Darryl walks out he tells Rick you guys are family too.

Merle tells Michonne that he want his brother back though Darryl wants to be in the prison. Merle believes that if he pulls this off maybe all will be forgiven and they can stay in the prison.  Michonne points out that this is a whole lot of maybes but Merle says that you hve to play the hand your given. Merle says that he killed 16 men since all this went down, after Michonne points out that he is not a bad man beause he feels things.

Glenn approaches Hershel and says look at what that bastard has done. Hershel points out that he is one man and says that there will be others like him. Glenn is holding hershel’ watch and admits that he didn’t understand when Hershel gave it to him, but that he knows what it means now and what it takes.  Glenn says that he wants to marry Maggie because he wants her to know before who knows.  Hershel gives Glenn his blessing and Glenn thanks him.

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Problematic Motherhood on ‘The Walking Dead’

Motherhood means life, so in some ways it is not surprising that a show where the dead rise and walk the earth, contains problematic treatment of motherhood. Despite all of the running, hiding and struggle to survive, motherhood has actually featured quite largely on The Walking Dead, the problem is that each instance in which motherhood has been an issue, it reveals not only the strong gender roles that The Walking Dead has enforced since the very first season, but an idealized form of motherhood.

The first mother we were introduced to was Lori.  She escaped the city with Carl and Shane (thank Gods he’s dead).  Lori’s main motivation was keeping Carl safe, when she wasn’t engaged in subsistence labour. It is Lori who sat down with Carl and forced him to continue his studies. It is Lori who tried hard to establish discipline and order in his life. Lori’s only real identity for the bulk of her appearance on the show was to nurture. The one time in which she chose to reject this limitation because of the impact that it would have on her life, she was shamed. If a woman can’t choose to have an abortion during a zombie apocalypse when food, and shelter are scarce, then when can she?  Her life essentially meant nothing if she was not fulfilling her role as a mother.  When she went to Hershel with her fears, she was given the “there there” treatment and sent on her way.  Even in the best of situations, labour can mean death but for a woman who had serious issues with her first pregnancy and now faced labour without any modern medical intervention, it was an absolute surety. In the end, Lori paid for her motherhood with her life.

Lori’s death did not however convince Rick to take on the nurturing role for his family. This duty was instead passed to Beth. Before taking on a role as primary caregiver to the newborn, Beth’s greatest claim to fame was lying down in her bed and giving up. Yes, in this day and age, The Walking Dead actually had a young woman take to her bed. With a child to care for, Beth is suddenly reinvigorated and taking an active interest in life again, she has even gone as far as to talk about how she always wanted to be a wife and mother. These are certainly admirable goals but the fact that she didn’t have other aspirations as well, speaks loudly about the role that women are expected to take on The Walking Dead. As young as Beth is, she is already being constructed as a mother type figure with no other discernible traits. Even Carl, who is several years younger than her is walking around with a gun and entrusted with protecting the prison. Though Judith is his sister, Carl’s involvement in her daily life is minimal at best. The only other caregiver we have seen look after Judith is Carol, despite the fact that Beth chose to claim Darryl as the reason for Judith’s survival and Rick chose to thank him for his contribution.  The efforts of both Beth and Carol have gone unrecognized.

Beth and Maggie’s mother is deceased and this of course happened off screen. Hershel is their parent and yet it is Maggie who does the nurturing work for Beth. There can be no doubt that a loving relationship exists between Hershel, Maggie and Beth, but again, their roles are strictly defined by gender.  By default, it is Maggie who takes on the role of parental figure, though this should absolutely be Hershel’s responsibility. 

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Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

R is a zombie – and he’s called R because it’s the one fragment of his name he has managed to remember. He and his fellow zombies follow the parodies of the living, aping human life but never really getting the reality of it. In between raiding the living to find food and, above all, brains – brains that contain the precious memories of the living that reignite what it means to be alive in the zombies. He lives in the airport, in his plane with his collection of human memorabilia and 50s records trying to reignite his humanity.

On one such raid he eat the brain of a man called Perry – and his brain lit up. He saw Perry’s girlfriend, Julie, and was driven to protect her rather than eat her. He brought her home to his plane and slowly they come to know each other. But, more, R sees more and more of Perry’s life and Perry’s memories, reliving his hopes and dreams – and his descent. The longer he and Julie spend together, the more R begins to wake up, the more he can remember and talk and think. The more alive he feels

And this vitality is spreading – but the Bonies, the most rotten and reduced of the zombies, are ready to fight back

This is a book that’s surrounded by some truly confusing marketing. When I picked it up, I was told by all and sundry that it was another Twilight. I cringed, expecting a vapid, personality-less heroine and a creepy, stalking hero who was supposed to be romantic.

This book is nothing like Twilight

I watched the trailers for the Warm Bodies film and expected a comedy, something funny and light and clever and amusing.

This book is not a comedy, nor is it light.

This book is surprisingly deep, amazingly solid and full of extremely powerful food for thought.

This is a dystopia, but unlike many dystopias, this is not decades after the end of the world, nor is it mere weeks. The remains of humanity aren’t in a desperate second by second battle for survival, nor have they built much in the way of a new society. Humanity is surviving. Day by day, in their secure centres, surviving with little or no real hope for an actual future. Everything is about survival, killing the zombies and surviving. Anything else is a distraction, it’s grim, it’s hard and General Grigio doesn’t accept any deviation from that, not even from his own daughter.

Then there’s the zombies, feeding on human brains for some spark of human emotion, trying to recapture some sense of what they were, unable to even pull up their own names, their own identities. They’re trapped in bodies that find so many tasks and even basic communication difficult, but also find even caring to be beyond them. Lead by the Bonies, rotted down zombies that are the very essence of stagnation and inevitability.

It’s a powerful book that asks what life actually is and what it means. What is the point of life if everything is reduced to survival, is it even living if you’re just living to survive rather than surviving to live and are you even living if you don’t have any hope for the future, any desires or any wishes. It asks what living actually means and what actually matters.

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The Walking Dead, Season Three, Episode Ten: Home

We open right where we left off at the break, with Darryl and Merle surrounded by the residents of Woodbury. Andrea tries to talk to Philip but he says that it is not up to him anymore and that the people have chosen.  Philip demands that Meryl and Darryl fight to the death as Andrea begs him not to do this.  Merle raises his hands and says he is going to have to do whatever he has to do, to prove his loyalty is to Woodbury, then starts to punch and kick Darryl.When Darryl asks if Merle believes they are going to be let go, Merle tells him to follow his lead.

From a distance Maggie shoots the walkers in the ring and the others begin to attack.  Pandemonium breaks out and the residents start running.  In the confusion the group slips away, as Philip walks through the dust almost without a care in the world.  As they make their escape, Merle tries to lead the way pointing out that everyone is at the area. Rick tells Merle that he is not going anywhere with them, but Merle replies that they haven’t got time for this.  The group leaves through a partition without closing it, thus allowing a walker to enter Woodbury.

When they meet up with Michonne and Glenn, they are not impressed to see Merle. Michonne grabs her katana pointing out that Merle tried to kill her and Rick puts a gun to her.  Merle tells Darryl that it looks like he is going native. Merle tells them that Andrea has been sleeping with Philip and that they found Michonne in the woods with her. Darryl tries to tell Merle to shut up and when he doesn’t Rick knocks Merle unconscious.

Back at the prison, Hershel is taking care of Tyreese’s group with medical attention.  They are surprised to see a baby amongst them and at first assume that the child belongs to Beth. Sasha says that this is the first decent people that they have met. Tyreese admits that there used to be 25 of them until their camp was over run. Tyreese comments that he must be the first brother in history to break into prison and Axel says that this makes him the first White boy who didn’t want to break out.  Hershel warns Tyrese that they have a large close knit group and that they shouldn’t get to comfortable there as he walks away, Tyreese says, “please you can see what type of people we are.”

Darryl begs for them to take Merle back to the prison and argues that Merle is blood. Darryl points out that Merle knows how Philip thinks. They look over at Michonne and declare her too unpredictable. The others make it clear that Darryl belongs but not Merle and finally he says, “no Merle no me.” When Glenn brings up Carol, Darryl says that she will understand.  Darryl starts to walk away, and Rick stops and says, that there has to be another way, but Darryl’s mind is made up. Rick tries again and reminds Darryl that they started something last night.  Darryl walks away with Merle after telling Rick to take care of everyone. The rest start to get into the car and Rick tells Michonne that they will patch her up and then she has to go.

Back at the prison Tyreese’s group prepares to bury their dead when Alan says that it’s a golden opportunity for them to take over the prison because all they see is Carl, a woman, a girl and a one legged old man. Alan points out that the place is secure.Tyreese tells him to show some decency but Alan says that this survival of the fittest and that they shouldn’t wait around to be thrown out on their asses.  Axel and Beth brings out a shovel and offers to help and Tyreese quickly takes it stopping Alan from attacking.

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The Walking Dead Game

When I first got this game, I thought it was going to be a Resident Evil style survival horror – I’d get to run around a building or complex or city with lots of guns and blow the heads off zombies while collecting oddly primary-coloured healing herbs. Yes, they’re a guilty pleasure of mine. Tension would come with things leaping out at me from behind doors, or hordes of enemies to gun down or even a big bad that just won’t die.

But that isn’t The Walking Dead. Not the TV series, or the comics. That’s not what The Walking Dead is about.

Not that there aren’t tense action moments. But they aren’t “how many zombies can I kill?” moments. No, they’re you scooting backwards with an injured leg, your back hitting a car with nowhere else to go, trying to load a shell into a shotgun while the Walker crawls after you and then dropping your only shotgun shell! An entirely different kind of tension but still very nerve wracking.

But, more than that, it’s a game about hard choices, again like the comics and the series. It’s about deciding who lives or dies. It’s about forming a group, forming a relationship with them, having real characters and companions – and then them dying, and then not being able to save them.

There are several moments when someone will die. Will. You can’t save everyone, you won’t save everyone and often you have to choose who lives or who dies and even to save yourself at the cost of others. And you often have to make these decisions in split-seconds, Walkers don’t wait for you to ponder the ramifications. Some people will hate you for what you have to do, some people will be evil in the dystopian world and you’ll have to decide what to do with them. Some won’t be evil – but will still be dangerous. And when seeing several of these dangerous people there’s then a question of who to trust, if anyone.

This is also a story where things and people change based on your decisions throughout the game which creates another difficulty – not just on deciding who dies or not – but how to interact with the party. When they have arguments and disputes, who do you support? What if you agree with one but the other is your friend? Can you risk alienating people? What if something is the right thing to do but not the safe thing? How far do you go? It says a lot about the quality of the game – writing, graphics and voice-acting – that all of these combine really well to make these decisions matter.

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Revolution Season One, Episode Ten: Nobody’s Fault But Mine

This episode opens with the Trenton campaign five years after the lockout. Monroe tells Miles that they are actually running out of bullets. Miles is shot and tells Monroe that he has to go because someone has got to lead the men but Monroe refuses to go and says, “if you’re dying, then I’m dying with you.” In the present day Philadelphia, they are walking through the streets when Miles notices that Charlie’s head is bleeding again.  Nora knocks on a door and says that she has a gift for Major Kilping.  When Kipling opens the door, Miles holds a knife to him and says that he is the only friend he has in town.  Neville knocks on Monroe’s door and tells him that though they get a message from Wheatley saying that he had captured Miles, but has not shown up.  Neville suggests that Monroe run but Monroe says that they are days away from an outright war with Georgia and that he is at a critical turning point with Rachel.

Miles leaves Charlie and Nora with Kipling. The Militia bursts in and Nevile says that Kipling is one of the few friends that Miles has in town.  Charlie says, “if you’re so smart, then where is Miles?” When Charlie starts to resist, Neville injects her with something and they drag her into a room and lock her in. Charlie asks where her friends are.  It turns out that Charlie has been imprisoned with Rachel. Charlie is shocked to see her mother and cannot speak at first.  Rachel tells Charlie that she is beautiful and when she tries to embrace Charlie, Charlie steps back.

 Neville tell Aaron that he recognizes him as the wizard of google and says that he bets that he was high and mighty when the lights were on. Neville says that he was one of the poor bastards once and now he needs Miles to save his fat pockmarked ass.  Nora realises that they are being used as bait and that this is nothing more than a trap.

Rachel tells Charlie that she was trying to kill Monroe and escape with Danny. Rachel says that this whole thing is her fault and that she never should have left them but Charlie tells her that she needs to stop.  Rachel realises that her daughter has grown up.

Miles returns and realises that the group has been taken.  Rachel asks Charlie if she was with Ben when he died and if he said anything. Charlie admits that Ben said she reminded her of Rachel and to go and get uncle Miles.  Rachel is shocked to learn that Miles is there and asks if he hurt her. Sgt. Will Strausser enters the room and says, “seeing you ladies together has me more than a little aroused.”  Stausser then takes them out of the room.

Neville is pouring a drink when Miles shows up holding a sword to Julia’s neck.  Miles offers Julia in exchange for his friends. Neville asks Julia if she is alright and Miles tells him to unload his clip. Unlike when Miles had his son, Neville quickly complies.  Neville starts walking towards Miles and says, “you went to my home and laid my hands on my wife.”  Miles again demands the return of his friends but Julia says that she is not some hysterical bitch.  Neville asks why he should help him because he believes that Miles is just going to slit their throats anyway.  Julia tells him not to but Neville says that he has no choice and that they should wait there.

Strausser takes Rachel and Charlie to see Danny, who has clearly been beaten.  Charlie tells Danny that she had to come because Danny is her brother.  Neville returns with Nora and Aaron and Miles demands that they be uncuffed. Miles demands that Neville get Charlie and Danny and when Neville says that they are not there, Miles puts the tip of his sword to Julia’s throat.  Neville says that Monroe asked for both the kids personally.  Miles orders Neville into a closet and forces Julia in with him. Neville says, “I’m going to kill you one day for this.”

Monroe introduces himself to Charlie and Rachel asks what he did to Danny.  Monroe answers that he is done playing games with him.  Monroe shows Charlie the pendant and explains that with an amplifier it makes planes fly and tents roll.  Charlie asks Rachel what Monroe is talking about and adds, whatever he is asking you to do, you can’t do it.  Strausser point a gun at Charlie and Danny and tells Rachel that she has to choose between her kids.  “Which one do you love more?” Strausser asks. Charlie tells Rachel not to do this and says that some things are more important than family.  Charlie stands up and says pick me and desperation, Rachel says that she will fix the amplifier.  Monroe orders Charlie and Danny to be taken back and says that if Rachel even steps a little out of line that both her kids are to be killed.

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The Walking Dead Season Three, Episode 3: Walk with Me

This episode opens with a helicopter flying and suddenly it starts to experience turbulence and it looks like an engine blows out. The helicopter lands in the bushes and from a distance, Michonne and Andrea see the smoke. Michonne checks out the crash and sees that two are dead but she is forced to leave the crash site when two vans pull up.  Michonne and Andrea hide in the bushes and watch as the men kill the zombies who have been attracted to the noise from the crash. One of the men grabs a zombie out of the helicopter and Andrea wonders if they should show themselves, but Michonne warns that they should be cautious. Unfortunately, Michonne’s zombies and reveal their location, so she sneaks up to them and beheads them.  There is an order to move out, so Michonne and Andrea think that they’re clear but Merle sneaks up on them from behind.  He uses a weapon on his new false hand to kill the zombie that sneaks up on him and Andrea faints.

Andrea is in a car and she is blindfolded.  There is a small gap and she can barely see through it.  Michonne is sitting in the vehicle right next to her. When we next see Andrea, she is getting medical treatment.  Andrea asks to go but the person treating her suggests that they stay the night and points out that it’s dark out now.  Merle sends the doctor on her way and tells Andrea that he knows that they were probably hoping that he was dead.  He says that when he was found, he was starving and thinking about committing suicide and meeting Darryl on the other side.  Merle asks about his brother and Andrea tells him that Darryl did go back for him but he was already gone.  Merle still blames Rick for locking him up in the first place and Andrea tries to explain by saying that they wanted to keep looking but a lot of people died. She tells him how Darryl stepped up and became a valued member of the group.  Finally, Andrea asks what they want from them and Merle says that he plucked them out of the dirt and suggests a thank you. Michonne reminds Meryl that they had a gun pointed at them. When he starts to ramble, Andrea says thank you.

The Governor enters the room and asks them how they are doing? Michonne asks for their weapons back and he tells them they can get them back at the gate. Andrea is upset because she saw them put a gun into the skulls to two dead men and the Governor then informs her that whenever someone dies, they become a walker.  He tells them that they are free to leave whenever they want to but Andrea needs a solid nights sleep. The Governor offers them medical care, food, and keys to a vehicle if they stay the night.  The Governor then opens the door and says, “welcome to Woodbury.” Michonne and Andrea walk out and see that the residents have erected a bridge to keep the walkers out.  Andrea asks if they are military because they are carrying heavy artillery and the Governor says that these are weapons they have collected over time.

The Governor escorts Michonne and Andrea to a room and tells them that they even have food and running water for showers. He promises them that they are safe there. Andrea asks about the pilot and the Governor says that Dr. Stevens is doing all she can. He leaves and tells them that if they need anything, there men will be waiting outside the door.

The next morning, Michonne and Andrea are getting the tour and learn that there are 73 people living in Woodbury and that the walls have not been breached in over a month.  Apparently, the Governor has a tight leash on the town and this includes a sunset curfew.  The governor is interviewing the pilot from the helicopter and learns that ten in his group escaped. The governor promises to find the land group that he was with and bring them to Woodbury.

After leaving the survivor, the Governor enters a building and catches Merle bickering with a scientist. He asks about Andrea and if she is from the group in Atlanta who left him on the roof. The Governor asks Merle to talk to Andrea again to see what else he can find out. The scientist pulls the cover over Michonne’s zombies and explains that what she has done to them brilliant.  The Governor asks why she kept them and the scientist says they’re camouflage. The scientist says that the zombies are starving, they’re just doing it more slowly that we do. The scientist wants to question Michonne and Andrea but the Governor says that Merle is handling it.  the Scientist tries again and says that letting Merle talking to the women is a mistake.

The Governor sets up a meal for Andrea, Michonne, the scientist and himself. The scientist asks if they believe the walkers remember the person that they were trapped inside like an echo.  Andrea says that she thought about that one time before a walker tried to bite her. The scientist ask about Michonne’s zombies and suggests that she knew them once but Michonne does not answer. Andrea asks if they expect what they have at Woodbury to hold but Michonne says that it will hold. The governor says that the real subject is what happens in the walls - “it’s about getting back to who we were.” Throughout the conversation, Michonne keeps looking at the governor with hate in her eyes.  The governor says that they are going to take back what’s theirs, only this time they won’t be eating each other. For her part, Andrea looks intrigued and even raises her teacup to the Governor.  The Governor gets up to go and Michonne stands and says that they want their weapons.  The governor again reminds them that their weapons are waiting for them at the gate, but again suggests that they should wait awhile and check out the town.

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'Revolution' and Aggressive Masculinity

Revolution is like many other dystopian fantasies.  Once again, we have White man saves the world with people of colour in servant roles when they do appear and of course, the invisible gay canaries. By that I mean no gay people, because somehow they are always the first ones to die when the world ends. With the strong White male leader, normally we get a heavy dose of hyper masculinity and the viewer is expected to accept the rightness of an alpha male leader and embrace it. Consider for a moment Rick from The Walking Dead, and Tom Mason in Falling Skies. These two men both fit the mold for leadership that we have come to expect in a dystopian setting. Revolution takes the mold and expands upon it to make hyper masculinity not only the preserve of leadership but a necessary attribute of masculinity.

From the moment we meet Captain Tom Neville, he is savage and, in fact, a sadist.  He rides into Ben’s small community with armed men and demands instant surrender on behalf of the militia. Tom uses violence and fear to keep his troops in line and the only person he seems to fear is Monroe. In episode five, for the first time we get a little insight into Neville’s backstory. We learn that Neville used to work as an insurance adjustor and lost his job when he gave clients coverage for a fire that they hadn’t actually paid for. In his boss’s office, he was passive and his body language was absolutely submissive, when he was fired. When Neville returns home, he tries to ask Rob, his neighbour to keep the noise level to a minimum but is ignored. Instead of being active and pursuing a confrontation in both instances, Neville enters his home and starts to take his frustrations out on a punching bag. He tells his son, Jason, that it’s good to punch but he must never punch people.This pre blackout Neville bears absolutely no resemblance to the tough captain we have learned to be wary of. When Tom breaks into his house looking for supplies, Neville beats him to death with his bare hands and in this moment, Captain Tom Neville is born. It’s not simply a case of the strong survive but a case that this is the appropriate behaviour for a real man. For Neville, a man protects his family, and a man shows power and does not back down. He has learned that a passive masculinity has dire repercussions and strips a man of his self worth.

Passive masculinity is also represented by Aaron.  Pre black out, Aaron was an extremely powerful man - not because of his physical strength but for his wealth. Though he was beat up in the school yard as a child, for Aaron, revenge came in the form of a company with 300 employees, four homes and a private plane.  In episode three,  he expresses to Maggie the fear he feels in the world as it is today because the same type of people who bullied him in the school yard, are in power today. He calls it a joke, but clearly the loss of power and value as a man is something that haunts Aaron.  He is desperate to get the power turned back on in the hope of returning to some semblance of the former power structure.  Men like Aaron are dependent upon others for safety and he is barely functional with a weapon. His character exists often as comic relief on the show.

Ben Matheson is another story of the failed passive man, a man moved more by compassion and understanding than violence and aggression. In the very first episode Ben is killed trying to placate the soldiers of the militia. Even had Danny listened to him and put the crossbow down, Ben would have been taken prisoner - we learn from Charlie’s rant in No Quarter, that the militia had repeatedly come to their farm and demanded resources, children, women - and every time Ben had given them up. Even beyond being killed almost as soon as the show began, when we see Ben in flashbacks we again see his passivity as a bad thing - in Chained Heat we see his wife, Rachel, killing to defend their meager supplies, while Ben was willing to let them go and risk starvation. His passivity, his compassion would have hampered his family’s ability to survive.

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Michonne and Her Zombies

The season opener of walking dead brought us our first sustained look at Michonne. For fans of the comics and fans of the series itself, this was a much anticipated moment.  Because this character is a fan favourite the producers of the show made sure to give Michonne her Katana and of course her zombie honour guard.

In the comics we learn that the zombies Michonne who escorted everywhere were ex boyfriend and his best friend.  Watching her walk with the men in chains, without arms and the jaws hacked out is truly macabre; however, it reveals exactly how intelligent Michonne is. In the first season, Rick covered himself and Glenn with zombie intestines and as much body fluid as he could to walk through a crowd of  zombies in order to get to a vehicle to escape. Because they smelled and moved like zombies themselves they went unharassed until it started to rain.  By dragging zombies around with her, Michonne was basically doing the exact same thing.

Being obsessed with The Walking Dead, I pretty much read everything I can about it.  When I came across a recap on Racialicious suggesting that Michonne’s zombie escort was racist, I truly had to pause.

Two Black Men With Missing Limbs in Chains Isn’t At All Racist…Right?

Joe: Wow, we’re going to have to look at those two bizarro Venus de Milos every week?
Joe: Eugh. Like … I know who they are (I won’t spoil it for those who don’t know,) and I know that it makes sense to use chain to keep them secure, but…you know? If there was ever a loaded image, it would be the jump cuts of those two jawless, armless black zombies, looking like a file photo from the end of the Civil War. It’s a lot different seeing this in real-person form rather than a comic book drawing. It doesn’t bother me that much, but it takes a lot more pointed forms of racist imagery to do so. However, no matter what is in the comic books, or the fact that a black woman has (owns?) them, I’m finding myself narrowing my eyes a bit. I’m pretty sure there are going to be quite a few offended by it.
Jeannie: I also have been reading the comics and did not think anything of it when they appeared on paper. But last night, I was definitely making my trademark skeptical face.
Liz: Umm…yeah her own zombie slaves? Have we figured out why she has them in the first place? Trophies? Accessories? Gross. Oh, and weird, too.
Carly: I know nothing about the comic books or any outside info, so all I can say is I definitely gave my husband the side-eye about the whole set up. I’ll be interested to see where it goes. And also it is so nice to see Andrea. And to have someone else who would also look at Lori like she was a fool for suggesting she’s behind on her laundry duties.
Jeannie:
Took me a second, but I just understood your reference! Haha, gross.

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Revolution Season One, Episode Five: Soul Train

In Nobelsville Indiana, Neville is fighting bare knuckled against his men.  After winning his bout, he tells Danny to step forward because he knows how Danny feels about him.  Danny refuses to fight but after Neville punches him twice and says that he has to toughen up, Danny begins to fight. He beats Danny severely and than has a flashback to his pre blackout days as an insurance instructor. He is sitting with his boss discussing a claim and is fired for approving a claim that a family was not covered for.

In present day, Charlie, Aaron, Nora and Miles are gathered around Maggie’s grave mourning.  Miles announces that it is time to go and Nora suggests allowing Charlie and Aaron more time. Miles feels that because he has given them thirty minutes that they have spared all of the time that they can.  Charlie asks for more time and Miles points to the grave and says, “that’s just a body in the ground Charlie, but Danny, he’s still alive and he’s close. If you want him back, you can’t do this. You can’t have this luxury and hanging around here is not going to help.” They pack up leave and walk until they hear a train whistle.

Miles says that if Monroe has a train that they are in trouble.  Neville tells the men to work faster because it is due to leave tomorrow.  Monroe informs Rachel that her son will be there tomorrow and she begs them on whatever relationship they used to have to let Danny go. Rachel promises to tell him everything and he responds, “I know you will, but you know how I know? ‘Cause I am going to have your son right here with me.” Rachel calls him a son of a bitch and Monroe reminds her that he gave her a lot of opportunities to cooperate.

Charlie walks into the town to get an idea of what is going on. Nora tells Miles that Monroe with a working train means big problems. Charlie reports back that the train leaves tomorrow for Philadelphia and Miles is certain that Danny is being put on the train. Miles says that if they don’t find Danny by tomorrow, they will have lost him and he suggests that they do a search without weapons to keep a low profile. He instructs Charlie and Nora to walk away and inform him if they get a scent of Danny because they only have one shot at this.

Danny is in a cell and Neville is telling him how hard he had to work and that he never saw what he made. Danny tells him to shut up because he is sick of Neville’s speeches and mind games. Neville tells him to be careful and Danny asks him if it makes him feel tough to beat up an18 year old kid and what it says about him?

We are given another flashback to the night of the blackout.  Neville’s neighbours are holding a party and he asks Rob if he can keep his music down at night because it keeps his kid up. Rob doesn’t answer him and Neville enters his house.  His son walks up to him and gives him a huge hug. His wife is setting the table and Neville asks if he has time before dinner.  Neville starts working out on the punching bag to get rid of his frustrations and his son Jason comes down the stairs. He asks Jason if he wants to take a swing and informs him to only hit the bag and never people, as the lights go out.

In present day, the train is being loaded up as Nora enters a printing press.  She asks for a biography of Joe Biden and is then escorted into a backroom. The man holds a knife to her and says that he just needs to be sure and so she shows him her tattoo. When Nora asks for his mark, Hutch shows her an American flag.  Apparently, Hutch represents the entirety of Nobleville’s underground. Hutch says that the militia wiped out their whole unit including his wife and that he is alone now.  Nora corrects him and says that it’s you and me and we’re going to blow up that train.

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