Monday, October 31, 2011

The Walking Dead: Shane shooting Otis--Hero or Coward?

Sacrifices on The Walking Dead this week: Blood. An arrow. A gun. A life. The episode was called “Save the Last One.” Save the last child—Carl? Or save the last bullet? Shane saved the last bullet so that he could help save Carl. When he shot Otis, was he acting the hero or the coward? The truth of the satirical maxim, “I don’t have to outrun the zombies, I just have to outrun you” became abundantly clear in this episode.

Otis volunteered to go with Shane to get the medical supplies for Carl because he was racked with guilt over accidentally shooting Carl in the first place. When they got to the school, Otis told Shane which trailer held the supplies and together they outsmarted (and outran) the zombies. Then it got ugly.

Getting from the trailer to the truck with the supplies proved impossible, so Shane and Otis had to take refuge in the school. They didn’t stay safe for long, though, so they made a pact to leave separately and meet up outside the building and head for the truck. They succeeded in that. But then the zombies converged on them again, and both men were slow because they had hurt their ankles jumping during their escape from the school. They shot at the zombies until they each had only one bullet left, and the zombies kept coming.

“I don’t have to outrun the zombies. I only have to outrun you.”

Did Shane do the right thing shooting Otis? Part of me says yes. He had to do whatever he could to save Carl who is practically family to Shane. After all, what would Rick have done if he’d been in Shane’s shoes? There was no way they were going to escape the herd together.

The biggest problem I have with what Shane did—and it isn’t lying about it when he got back to the farmhouse—is that he shot Otis in the leg and not the head. That was cruel. The zombies would have stopped and eaten Otis anyway, if Shane had shot him in the head. And, if he’d shot him in the head, there’d be no chance that Otis could show up as a zombie later.

Shane’s got issues, but I don’t blame him for shooting Otis. I blame him for leaving him alive.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sons of Anarchy - "Family Recipe" and Piney's last stand

I knew what was coming this week on Sons of Anarchy, didn’t you? Yet when Clay pulled the trigger and literally ripped Piney’s heart out of his chest, I could do nothing but sit and stare at the TV with my mouth hanging open. Some part of me had hoped that Piney would make it another episode or two.

Clay had figuratively ripped Piney’s heart out a long time ago. The president’s greed and his penchant for making his own rules have destroyed everything the First 9 created. Piney knew he was marking time, but he believed he was going to last long enough to bring down Clay. I didn’t let my optimism carry me that far (besides, we need a criminal like Clay to keep the tension high), but I still can’t believe Piney’s gone. How’s Opie gonna take it? What’s Jax gonna think?

And I also have to address my post from last week. As many pointed out on various sites (including this one!), the branch did break and Juice didn’t manage to hang himself. I feel for this guy, don’t you? He loves the Sons so much—they really are his family—and he was forced to betray them or have his race revealed to them. Can you imagine the torture he’s been going through? And now, Chibs knows. How bad is it gonna get for Juice? If/When Clay finds out….I don’t want to think about it.

Then we have Tara preparing to leave Charming for the safety of Abel and Thomas (and herself). Is she actually gonna go? I don’t see it. I just don’t see her leaving. It screws up the dynamics of the show, don’t you think? But I love how protective Wayne is being with the whole threatening letter thing—the lengths he’s going to and the risks he’s taking—he’s trying so hard to do what’s right (in his own, twisted mind).

And, because the episode is called “Family Recipe,” we can’t overlook the comic relief that Chuckie offers us every time he’s onscreen. The chili scene with the deputies reminded me of the “secret’s in the sauce” bit in Fried Green Tomatoes. How hilarious was that when Gemma stirred the pot and found the secret ingredient? It’s good that we get to chuckle every now and then. These episodes are getting crazy—and GREAT!!

No one can predict what’s going to happen next on Sons of Anarchy. But we can’t wait to find out, can we? See ya next week!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Sons of Anarchy - "Fruit for Crows" RIP Juice

If you watched Sons of Anarchy this week, you had to hand it to Bobby—it took some cojones to call for a vote for a new president. He sees the damage Clay is doing to the club, and he cares enough to try and stop it. I’m left wondering what it’s going to end up costing Bobby after the vote because you just know that Clay’s not handing over that gavel.

Clay is slowly but surely eating the club down to the bone. It’s all about him—his greed, his lust for power and control, and (I think) his fear of his own weakening hands. What good’s a Son who can’t ride—let alone a president who can’t?

I’m ashamed of the rest of the club that are going against their own consciences and gut feelings to follow Clay down the drug and guns trail. I understand that it’s a loyalty thing. I know it’s also a trust thing—they truly trust Clay and don’t believe he’d do anything that would hurt the club. That makes his deception even worse because he knows that about his guys. He knows they trust him and believe him and he’s using that to his own personal advantage while he destroys SAMCRO.

We can’t forget, either, about the “strange fruit” hanging in the tree at the end of the episode “Fruit for the Crows.” Clay has that on his hands too because if he hadn’t started the whole guns-and-coke thing with the cartel, the feds would have had no use for Juice. Clay’s eaten Juice’s life away, but no one’s going to hold him responsible, are they?

Clay has no “off” switch. He’s gonna have to be disabled or he’ll never have enough. He’ll never stop. No matter what. No. Matter. Who.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Sons of Anarchy - Where'd the honor go?

One of the foundations of SAMCRO is supposed to be honor. It’s an honor to be patched in to the club. You honor your brothers in the club. You even, to a lesser degree, honor members’ old ladies—not crow eaters, but old ladies. You honor the code of the club—you protect the club.

Well, in this girl’s opinion, poor ol’ Piney’s the only one with any honor left in him. Maybe Chibs too, but he did vote in favor of the guns and the coke this season.

Don’t get me wrong—I’m not complaining about the show—far from it. There are all kinds of conflicts being built up as a result of the lack of honor in the club. It’s making for great TV.

First of all, everybody’s lying, and they’re not lying about who forgot to take out the trash or who didn’t clean up the clubhouse. Gemma and Clay are lying to each other about JT’s letters. Clay’s lying to Jax about the extracurricular activities he’s asked Romeo to conduct. Juice is lying to everybody about the brick of coke—and Miles died for that one. Wayne’s lying to Gemma and Clay about the letters. Lyla lied to Opie so Opie cheated on her. It’s one big cluster and it’s a mystery as to who’s gonna die in the middle of it because you know Miles won’t be the last.

I feel bad for Piney. He’s one of the First 9, and he’s watching his club disintegrate around him—and I do mean his club, the club he helped establish. Clay’s wretched morals are eating it away from the inside out. I was actually happy when Piney punched Opie this week, and I agreed with him when he told his son, “I don’t even know who you are anymore.” I think he could have been talking about any of the Sons when he said that.

My heart also breaks a little for Wayne. Yeah, he was a really crooked, dirty cop, but there’s something sweet about him too. He loves Gemma—and I’ve never gotten the feeling that it’s lustful love, but more of a father-daughter love. Maybe I’m not seeing that completely straight, but that’s what I think. Wayne’s been a protector of the club. You’d be hard-pressed to name a crime he hasn’t committed to keep SAMCRO safe. And now, his gut’s telling him—rightly so—that Clay’s up to the kind of no good that could result in a murder that would rip apart the lives of everyone in the club, if Wayne can’t stop it. So Wayne’s going up against Clay, a plastic Big Wheel against a diesel locomotive, but I’m rooting for the Big Wheel.

There’s some honor left in Charming. Piney’s is intact, and Wayne’s struggling to hold onto what’s left of his. There’s a battle brewing, and not all of the Sons will be standing when it’s over. Maybe the right ones will fall, and honor can find its rightful place in the chapel again.

But, now, how much fun would that be?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Breaking Bad Season Four Finale

Season Four of Breaking Bad wrapped up this week, and what a season it’s been! For some reason, I was under the impression that this was the final season, and the suspense and cliff-hangers built into each episode helped support that false belief. I’m grateful that we’re going to have one more season—I love this show! But I’m also apprehensive because seriously, how are they going to top this season?

If you’re unfamiliar with the AMC hit, first of all, shame on you! But rest easy—you can get the early episodes on DVD. The show’s two main characters are Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher, and Jesse Pinkman, a low-level meth cook and dealer. Walter finds out in the pilot episode that he has lung cancer, and his prognosis is bad. His wife is a writer who makes little if anything working from home. Together, they have a son, Walt Junior, who’s in high school, and who has cerebral palsy. Plus, the Whites are expecting a new baby. They’re in debt and have no assets. Walter’s worried about how his family will get along once he’s dead.

Then he takes a ride with his DEA brother-in-law, Hank, and watches the good guys bust a meth lab. While Walter watches the raid from the car, he sees his former, way-underperforming student, Jesse, jump from a window and elude the police. Walt’s a smart guy and a great chemist. He has a general understanding of how much money can be made from cooking and selling meth, and he has the know-how to produce it. Jesse, obviously, has the beginnings of a marketing network. Together, they form a (criminal) partnership and the fun begins.

In the first two seasons, Walt and Jesse go up against characters of all types—vicious and lethal, bumbling and hilarious, sad and stupid. The minor characters add layers to the story and help develop Walter and Jesse’s characters further. And then they meet Gus Fring at the end of Season Two.

Gus offers them a job that seems like it’s too good to be true. Well, you know what they say about things seem too good to be true, dontcha? Throughout Season Three, the enigma that is Gus begins to grow claws and teeth. During this last season, Gus shows us his worst, and brings out the worst in Walt and Jesse in the process.

I loved the way the final episode of Season Four ended. I loved the way certain plot lines were wrapped up and the way they implicated Walt at the end in a crime that I just can’t believe—and yet I have to believe—he committed.

Next season will likely be a battle of values—trust, love, and honor—between Walt and Jesse. Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul are phenomenal actors, so I have no doubt their portrayals of these constantly evolving characters will be worth watching. I hope, though, when it’s all said and done—for good—this time next year, that I won’t be wishing Breaking Bad had ended this week with “Face Off.”