Marvel Finally Misses with Iron Fist

Better late then never?

At one point in the later part of its 13-episode run, Davos, fellow K’un-Lun citizen and longtime friend of Danny Rand drops a line that is so on the nose, I’m surprise that it made the final cut.

“You’re the worst Iron Fist ever!”

Damn, dude. Words hurt! But sadly, so does the truth,  because depending on what you read/who you listen too, Iron Fist is not as good as it was hoped to be – for a wide range of reasons.

I say depending, because although the series dropped to some critical and fan lashing, highlighted by rotten tomatoes scores of 17 and 79% respectively, it actually fared very well when compared against other Netflix series  when analyzed with the network’s own metrics.

I’m going to ignore all the Who-Struck-John that dusted up when Loras Tyrell (aka Finn Jones) was cast to play Danny Rand – mostly by those who wanted an Asian in the role, even though Jones in the comics is Caucasian – because I think the series would have caught grief from people regardless of which way they went with their casting choice.

All of which would have gone away if it ended up that the casting decision was a good one. Unfortunately, although Jones seems to be a  fine actor, he was woefully behind the curve on this fight choreography skills when Iron Fist started filming – a fact that is sadly very apparent in the final production – apparently because he had little time to train before filming began.

With dazzling martial arts scenes popping up regularly on Into The Badlands, some flashy action sequences in shows like Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow, and hard hitting, gritty fight scenes from Iron Fist’s sister show Daredevil, not having top notch fight scenes from your star in a series based on the “Living Weapon” is borderline criminal. Especially when you factor in that co-stars like Colleen Wing and Lewis Tan are more than bringing it.

But let me push all that to the side and list three areas where I thought Iron Fist really missed the boat.

THE BIG BAD

I’m going to say it now, I’ve never been a fan of The Hand, which is TOTALLY hypocritical of me, because I’m usually all for anything that fills my TV or movie screen with katana wielding ninjas.

But to be honest, I just haven’t warmed up to them, sorry. I know, long time readers of the comics will point out that the Hand are pretty big players in the Marvel world and longtime adversaries of Daredevil. Given.

But to me, the Hand have always been the under card with other villains and anti-heroes carrying the more interesting parts of the story forward. In the first season of Daredevil they had the unenviable task of trying to out shine Edgar the Bug’s (AKA Vincent D’Onofrio) King Pin and for that show’s second season, the plot line of the Hand I felt weighed down the second half of the series mostly because it diverted focus away from Shane Walsh’s (AKA Jon Bernthal) Punisher.

The would be main bad guy for Iron Fist I guess would be the whole Meachum family, siblings Joy and Ward, and their father Harold who is dead, except that he’s not. Together Joy and Ward spend a lot of time not believing that the returning Danny Rand is indeed Danny Rand because they believe he’s dead, except that he’s not.

Problem – there isn’t a shred of menace in these three together. Not one iota of the quiet rage, or singular focused aggression that made The King Pin or The Punisher so compelling, respectively.

Harold meanwhile spends a lot of time hiding in his penthouse because people believe he’s dead, except he’s not, abusing is assistant and hoping the Hand doesn’t drop by for a visit. In the real world, only his assistant and Ward know that he’s not dead (except that he is, but he’s not) which assists Harold as he attempts to figure out if Danny Rand is dead or not. Got it? Groovy.

Problem – there isn’t a shred of menace in these three together. Not one iota of the quiet rage, or singular focused aggression that made The King Pin or The Punisher so compelling, respectively. Nope, they just kind of wade through the plot, adding obstacles when Danny needs them, and opening doors for the same reasons. But as far as lifting the show up to another level as other villains have in the past? Never happens.

Now, I’ll balance that with this – the inclusion of the Hand has brought some cool boss level fighters for our heroes to overcome. There was Nobu Yoshioka in both seasons of Daredevil, and Iron Fist gave us the very interesting (and sadly underutilized) Zhou Cheng (The Drunken Master) and the Bride of Nine Spiders.

And who doesn’t love Madame Gao? I want her on my fireplace mantle to act as my own personal version of Google Home. “Gao, What’s the weather going to be today?”

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“Ok, so…partly cloudy, then?”

If Iron Fist showed me anything, it’s that if there isn’t a very complete and interesting big bad to help carry the story, then for me the story doesn’t work, and the Hand are unable to do it by themselves, and sadly, Iron Fist is woefully lacking in complete and interesting big bads.

NOT ENOUGH K’UN-LUN.

One of the glaring omissions in my mind is the almost painful lack of back story into what makes Danny Rand tick. He just fancy walks into the building that bares his family name after a 15 year absence and starts to bring confusion to everyone who now works there.

But why? Why did he train all his life to  face and defeat the dragon, Shou-Lao the Undying, securing his role as the immortal Iron Fist, only to skip out and go walk about the first chance he got?

The show doesn’t investigate this part of Danny’s life very deeply, only showing an occasional glimpse of K’un-Lun, (where he apparently spent much of his time being whipped with a cane, because, plot!) and none of his show down with Shou-Lao.

Having that back story could have greatly fleshed out Danny’s motives, and maybe even have been used to explain why he doesn’t yet have the fighting skill level, or indeed the basic knowledge of other powers, one would associate with the Immortal Iron Fist.

Did Danny decide to face Shou-Lao even though his masters thought he wasn’t worthy or indeed, ready too? Did he beat the dragon using some Kobayashi Maru type cheat? Was his goal simply to be come the Iron Fist because he knew that would be the only way he could leave K’un-Lun, which was a long time plan of his?

So much backstory and motivations for Danny could have been filled in by focusing on this part of his story, and since it didn’t we don’t have it, and Danny just seems to do things because he does.

LONILINESS

No, I’m not talking about Danny’s alienation when he returns to New York or his love life (I’ll never feel sorry for a guy who winds up at the end of the day with Colleen Wing), I’m talking about the fact that Danny Rand is the only Defender to show up in Iron Fist.

From a production point, it takes some of the “he met, she met” that needs to happen out of The Defenders

I can understand why, the producers probably wanted the show to fully explore and flesh out the Danny Rand character, and probably felt that the inclusion of another Defender would somehow take away from that goal. My question back – did including Luke Cage diminish Jessica Jones in any way? No.It.Did.Not.

Adding another Defender would have helped jump start the formation of the titular group as well as allowed the show to have a path with which to move into The Defenders. From a production point, it takes some of the “he met, she met” that needs to happen out of The Defenders thus allowing that show to have more time to devote to story (consider The Defenders appears to only be 8 episodes), plus puts a very interesting aspect into Iron Fist allowing them to remove some of the slower moments of that show.

Who would not have wanted to see Madam Gao once again irritated by the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen, or even a nick-in-time save by Jessica Jones. And don’t tell me fans wouldn’t have fist pumped or left their seats the first time they saw Luke and Danny, the team that in the comics becomes known as “Heroes for Hire”, standing next to each other ready to demolish a Handful (get it) of ninjas in a classic battle.

No…whoever made the choice to make Iron Fist only about Danny Rand…I feel they made the wrong one.

And that’s it. That’s the three bullet points I took away after watching Iron Fist. The show is OK at best, but sadly flawed, and really hurts when compared against the shows that have come before it.

Bring on The Defenders.

The Defenders drops on Netflix on August 18th, 2017.

McCain’s Craft Beer Battered Fries – Really?

A little different post today.

If I was asked to name my favorite cuisine, I think I’d have to say – pub. Oh, don’t get me wrong there’s nothing wrong with Italian, Greek, Asian or other culinary classics, but give me a place that makes a great burger or a killer plate of wings and I’m there.

Even outside of pubs I still look for those tavern comforts. I’m not above going out to nice places for lunch whether for work, or play, and still scanning the menu for what the place may offer as far as pub-like fare.

And along those lines if you see me intently contemplating the menu I’m usually not looking for the newest special, or gourmet cucumber, chicken wrap. No, my mind is usually locked in the complex, calculus laden calculation designed to compute what I can order that will get me the most french fries.

As most people will concur, at their basic core- fries rock. Not just because they’re versatile starch bombs that not only work well on their own paired with your condiment of choice or piled high with all kinds of calorie increasing craziness, but let’s face it, it’s because it’s so hard to make a good one at home. Ok, it’s not hard, a few potatoes, a sharp knife, some hot oil, and you have…well anything from oily, limp potato sticks to charred, charcoal like chaff depending on your attention span.

No wonder the frozen section of your local food market chain is chock full of all kinds of choices to help you conveniently get to fry Nirvana. But to be honest, I seldom go this route because let’s face it, most of those options are lacking and resemble nothing like the fries you can get out – even at those fast food joints.

https://thedogsofbeer.wordpress.com/But someone at work recently asked if I’d seen McCain’s Food’s craft beer batter offerings, and I was intrigued. Not because I’m always looking for the next great frozen side dish, but because…oh, come on, you know why.

Certain segments of the beer world are still (rightly or wrongly) holding tight to the term “craft” and what it should exactly connote to anyone inside or outside of that world. The Brewer’s Association still conveys a very clear (if abet, fluid) definition of what a craft brewery is, even going so far as to recently condemn Walmart for attempting to blur the lines with their recently offered company brewed beer.

So for some company to plaster the words “craft beer battered” across their bag of cryogenically suspended spuds I thought was pretty daring, so I picked up a bag of fries and onion rings (because if it’s not fries … it’s onion rings) and did some sleuthing.

The bags state “Made with finest quality American Pale Ale” which is nice bit of initial encouragement, but from there it wane’s fast, much like a third act in a horror movie where the heroes are sure they’ve destroyed the monster, only to watch it rise from the smoke and ashes.

There’s no mention of whose beer McCain specifically uses, which seems like a lost marketing opportunity for both McCain’s and whoever makes their beer. I mean, if you had company that makes frozen breaded confections, you’d want customers to know that you were using Stone’s or Bell’s, wouldn’t you?

I was impressed to see that beer is actually listed as an ingredient whose components are broken down as: Water, Malted Barley, Corn Syrup, Hops, Salt. Close. I mean you could make beer out of those ingredients but the corn syrup isn’t something you’d expect to see on the grain bill from your local brewer who you would associate making a “craft” product. Also, water treatment not withstanding, salt?

No, this just doesn’t seem right.

A little digging finds that McCain indeed has a page on their website dedicated to Brew City, but it seems to be more about a marketing brand set up for their products in the food service industry than having anything truly to do with craft beer.

The product itself is pretty good entry in the home fry market. Battered fries aren’t something I come across much and as for these, well let’s just say I think they were using the term “battered” pretty liberally. The onion rings were pretty good and to be honest I’d spring for a bag again the next time I’m in the mood for a quick fix and don’t feel like battering up a batch of my own.

Bear in mind however, that I say that about both products having used the deep fry option for both. You’re mileage my vary in an oven, which is why I tend to forego it.

I didn’t start this article to rip on McCain or put their products down. To be honest, I was hoping to find a craft beer connection that I could hold up as another example of how craft beer is working its way into different aspects of our lives. But sadly, I have to conclude after some sleuthing and contemplation that I’m pretty confident that the closest thing to craft beer in these commodities is the one you open when you sit down to dinner.

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The Final Sip: Two requests to McCain for clarification on the craft beer used in their products went unanswered.

Fordham’s Rosie Parks Oyster Stout

– Still one of my favorites.

As I wrote in last week’s post, I’ve changed up my beer drinking habits lately in an attempt to get back to the simple pleasure of enjoying beer, while stepping away from all the usual frenzied brand snatching I’ve tended to do over the past couple of years.

This time I want to talk about Fordham’s Rosie Parks Oyster Stout, a beer that is no stranger to me as I named it as one of my six picks for Brian Roth’s Six-Pack Project as well as making no apologies for declaring it in the past as one of my favorite beers brewed in Delaware.

This hangout happened on a bit of a whim as I was getting ready for our yearly St Paddy’s day celebration, mulling over the possibility of adding some oysters to the menu. I loved the idea, but wasn’t digging the added expense or possible hassle of finding good oysters at the last minute when I remembered that I’d seen this very metaphorical (but adequate) substitute on one of my locals’ shelves.

So spending nothing but a quick stop after work the next day, plus the price of a six pack and bingo – “oysters” for St Paddy’s day.

Of course there was plenty of Murphy’s and Guinness as well, but Rosie didn’t seem to mind hanging out with the boys. This was a short hangout, just a couple of days, but it was very pleasurable.

The St Paddy’s celebration? Well long time readers know that I’m a bit of a St Paddy’s Day snob due to some culture programing by a Irish Jedi. So every year we get together with the kids and rock some Irish inspired food, drink and music. I’ll embed a couple of songs we added to the playlist this year at the bottom of this post. For now, let’s talk beer – and a little something else.

As always click on a photo to enlarge and cycle through the gallery to read a little comment or two about each photo

THEM: From a press release:

“Making a triumphant return, the Oyster Stout was formerly in the Fordham Brewing portfolio and retains a loyal group of followers. Containing Chesapeake Bay oysters and shells, contributing to a slight briny taste in the beer, this stout contains pale, torrified wheat, caramunich, roasted barley and chocolate malt. In addition, it is hopped with Bravo and Glacier hops. Black and 5.2% ABV, this beer is very distinctive.”

THE BUZZ: Ratebeer (3.18/5), Beer Advocate (3.55/5), Untappd (3.44/5)

DE AVAILABILITY: Most fine beer outlets.

ME: I’m going to admit, I didn’t really crawl into the glass during our celebration to re-analyze a beer I’ve had dozens of times. I simply enjoyed it throughout the day, which is what these types of reviews are all about. So let’s just go with my thoughts from my six-pack project post:

“Rosie is pure smooth drinking from front to back, with light chocolate and (even lighter) roasted notes, along with that kiss of mineral that comes from the added oyster shells.  The finish is clean and not bitter (24 IBUs) and the after taste is simply a slight roastiness.”

Yeah. Seems right. Don’t let the oyster thing turn you off, this is one fine beer and was a nice change of pace from the traditional dry stouts poured throughout the day.

Time for another beer….sing us out boys!

Fordham’s Dilated Pupilz Golden Pils

Dark Eye Glasses Not Required.

I’ve been changing my drinking habits lately. Running around trying to grab every beer that one has never tried is a young man’s game, and I just don’t seem to have the energy for it like I used to. And yes, you can do the logic problem and conclude that I’m not a young man anymore.

Instead, I’ve been grabbing some local beers off the shelf and just kind of hanging out with them. Whether it be a six pack over a long weekend, or a couple (or maybe three) over a period of a couple of weeks (or months). I’ve been just hanging out with the beer, kicking back, relaxing, experiencing it at different times and in different situations, while trying not to let too many other beers distract me.

What is this beer? Does it have a story? Does the story change over time?

Will this improve my reviews? Probably not. But they’ll be changing a bit as well as the wordy intros will probably be whittled down to a few words so that the review is more concise and quicker for you to read.

I also want to use this beer ‘quality time’ to take some photos of the beer and let you all have a peek at what the beer and I are doing in our lives. And the truth is, I’d rather be playing in Lightroom and Photoshop lately than writing long, rambling reviews.

So  with that, let’s check out the first beer in this new format, Fordham Brewing’s Dilated Pupilz.

THEM: From the website – “Dilated Pupilz has a solid malt backbone and well balanced hop character.  This golden pilsner showcases a distinct hop nose and malty flavor up front but finishes with a floral bitterness. A great beer to enjoy any time of the year.”

The grain bill includes Vienna and Caraform malts, while Bravo, Tradition and Saaz hops balance the load. Pupilz clocks in at 5.0%ABV and 38IBU.

THE BUZZ: Ratebeer (no ratings), Beer Advocate (one rating), Untappd (3.4)

DE AVAILABILITY: Most fine beer outlets.

ME: As you can see by the below photos I’ve been drinking this one for a little while now. I’ve found it mostly to be a beer that drinks pretty nice in most situations without demanding too much attention on itself.

When stored in my super turbo beer over-chiller (aka, my fridge) Pupilz has a clean nose and a just apparent malt taste with some classic Pilsner hop flavors. Every now and then the beer tosses me a citrusy/lemon notes towards the end, not sure if that’s really there, or if it’s my palate doing some of that slight-of-hand stuff that it does sometimes. The end is pretty crisp and doesn’t linger.

I wasn’t sure I liked this beer at first, but in the end it really started to grow on me. In fact, once I had everything I needed for this review, I found myself picking up one last six-pack – you know, just for the hell of it.

As always click on a photo to enlarge and cycle through the gallery to read a little comment or two about each photo.

Time for another beer.

New MST3K Captures Campy Charm of the Original Cult Classic

– We’ve Got Movie Sign!!!!!

Sometimes a concept is so brilliantly simplistic that you’re not sure why nobody ever ran with it before.

Take this simple premise – you and your friends are sitting on a couch watching bad movies and making fun of them as you do so. Sound like fun? You’ve probably done it.

Well Joel Hodgson ran with it when he introduced Mystery Science Theater 3000 in 1988. Collectively, over 10 seasons and three networks, Hodgson and the MST3K team managed to make fun of almost 200 movies.

Fans of the cult show rejoiced when in 2015 Hodgson announced the return of the show and started a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to fund (initially) the first three episodes. The campaign raised a total of almost 6 million dollars, and it was announced that the series would be developed for Netflix’s “drop all episodes at once” streaming format.

Much to his credit, Hodgson didn’t bog down the simple concept of his show with a lot of extraneous narrative, and thankfully, the new show keeps the same format with all of the most recognizable antics as before, allowing old fans to hop right back on as if they’d never left, and new fans to quickly catch on.

If you’re not familiar with the show, the premise is two paragraph simple (or if you like, one minute and a half introductory theme song simple – see below); two mad scientists ( now played by Felicia Day and Patton Oswalt) kidnap one poor guy (now played by Jonah Rey) and force him to watch horrible movies to see how long it takes to break his sanity.

“So are all these mountains hallow, or are we going to have to guess which one?” – Crow

In the original series our poor guy (initially portrayed by Hodgson himself) retaliates by using parts of the ship he’s trapped in (ironically the parts that he could have used to stop the movie) to build several robot friends who watch the movies as well, helping him keep his sanity by making fun of (riffing on) all the stupid things that happen during the movies.

And we’re off. That simple. The show never wastes time over analyzing the motivations of the Mads, or why Joel, who could build all these cool robots doesn’t try to do something more useful like figuring out a way to escape, or as the introductory theme song intones, how he eats and breaths.

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Although the new series is much of the same the first episode does take a few minutes of exposition to bridge from the older series and give enough background to bring newer viewers quickly up to speed.

There’s a small introductory skit that features Wil Wheaton and Erin Gray, but much like Wheaton says about being Sheldon Cooper’s mortal enemy on Big Bang Theory, it doesn’t really take up much of your time.

The prologue sets up Jonah as the new host, including a run down of several upgrades he’s made to the Bots, including Gypsy’s voice and the fact that Tom Servo can now hover.

“Little know fact: most scientific problems are solved right here at the dish rack.” – Tom Servo

The theme song has gotten an upgrade thanks to the musical help of Har Mar Superstar and kicks in every episode when the cold opening in interrupted by a tube that comes down and sucks Jonah into the title sequence, to the point where one of the Bots even asks him during one episode, “why does she make you do that every time?” Robot Roll Call is shot in silhouette on a green screen allowing it to be presented over scenes from the episode’s movie, and the countdown hallway has been given a fantastic makeover.

While classic bits like the invention exchange, conversations with “the Mads” and guest appearances are all still here, the show seems to have given them less time, which never gives them a chance to get stale or repetitive – a good thing considering the show is now bingable. Is that a word? Yeah, that’s a word.

The classic Bots are back, with Hampton Yount doing a pretty solid Crow voice, Baron Vaughn giving a new inflection to Servo’s voice, and Rebecca Hanson adding a really nice touch taking Gypsy’s voice into a more mature, feminine tone.

Once inside the theater, where the horrible movies are played, it’s business as usual with a few cool upgrades. The classic silhouette in the corner technique is still used to depict Jonah and the Bots as they watch, but now the threesome seem to do more, including leaving the theater and coming back or switching seats. Servo will on occasion hover up to the screen to point out something, and in what I think is a really nice addition, Gypsy now drops in on the left side every now and then to help our team out with a quick comment of her own. Although I have no idea what she’s bringing in and out of the theater when she does.

But as the cliche goes, the real stars in the series are the movies. Joel Hodgson kept the screening list for the new series under very tight wraps and every fan I talked to had specific wishes for the types of movies that would be represented.

And I don’t think Hodgson disappointed. The series contains a nice mixture of the black and white horror movies that were the show’s bread and butter when it first began (Reptillicus, The Beast from Hallow Mountain), horribly bad space dramas (Starcrash), sword and sorcery (The Loves of Hercules, Wizards of the Lost Kingdom I/II), and even a movie about a magical Bigfoot and the boy he tries to help (Cry Wilderness).

I was especially happy to see Reptillicus and Beast on the list as I remember watching these movies in my youth on the old Doctor Shock horror movie TV shows (any old Philly area UHF TV watchers out there?). Those old black and white horror movies are what drew me to MST3K in the first place, as I’d seen so many in my youth and grew up loving them.

(Said about a blank foggy screen) “This is what every Star Wars movie looks like before the CGI is put in.” – Jonah

As does Hodgson, at the heart of the show is the fact that he’s is not making fun of these moves so much as having fun with them. So with that in mind he insisted with this new incarnation that the riffing not go over the dialog of the movies so that the audience would not only be able to enjoy the comedy, but also enjoy the movie for what it was intended to be. I was afraid this would slow down the comedic pace of the show, but in truth it really doesn’t affect it all and if I hadn’t been aware of it in advance I probably wouldn’t have even noticed.

And even though the show was shot for Netflix, the show still appeared to me to be blocked for commercial broadcast (a fact that I was able to verify while writing this review), which I found odd, but not overly distracting.

The new series of MST3K not only updates the old format enough to put a little bit of a new shine on the show, but also successfully recaptures the fun camp that made the show so great to begin with.

Jonah Rey is a solid choice as the new host, bringing a quiet “play along” reserve that typified previous hosts Hodgson and Mike Nelson, while Day and Oswalt appear to be having a lot of fun playing the Mads.

Old fans will be happy with the new 13 episode offering and new viewers will have no problem discovering why so many of us enjoyed the show initially.

MST3K season 11 is current available for streaming on Netflix along with a selection of shows from previous seasons, and remember – Turn Down Your Lights (Where Applicable).

The Walking Dead “New Best Friends” – With Friends like These

…who needs Negan.

When we last left Rick and rescue team 6, they had just been bushwhacked (or is that junkwacked) by a new group. Are they new friends? New enemies? Or simply the people you courteously nod to when you pass on the street while you’re out scavenging for the Saviors?

Let’s find out as once again with another non-beer related post (maybe I’ll start to mention the beer I’m drinking while I’m watching to tie it all together) where I run down some random remarks about this week’s episode. As always my comments from this week’s Facebook live chat that inspire these thoughts are in bold. Spoilers.

Morgan wants his stick

Oh man, some douche took Morgan’s non-killing stick. There are rules, douche. Don’t tug on Superman’s cape, etc, etc. And Morgan said “please”.

Seriously, this renders our most prolific non-killer inactive until he gets his non-killing stick back so that he can return to his non-killing ways.

And he will, douche. One night when you least expect it, Morgan will come and not kill everyone between him and you and then not kill you and take his non-killing stick back, because Morgan will not say please again. You’ll be able to feel the non-death in the air.

In the meantime I guess Morgan will just have to sit around and not kill people. What a waste of a non-killer.

NAME!!!

Richard is trying not to let his dick plan go to shit but Daryl’s having none of it. The man with the crossbow asked you a question, Richard. I don’t think he’d have to ask me twice.

And it’s a pretty serious dick plan. Get the Saviors to discover Carol so they can kill her and piss off the guy who thinks he’s king? Holy crap, what kind of ass drain thinks of a plan like that? The kind of ass drain that deserves to have it all go to shit when he’s forced to spill the beans to one of only a handful of guys remaining in the world who would kill him on the spot for even thinking about such a dick plan.

I’d write that scene. Carol gets struck by lightning. Richard shits his pants.

After Daryl gets the name and puts all the pieces together he gives Richard (who we should now just be referring to as Dick) a rundown of things that better NOT happen to Carol, like rug burns, irritable bowel syndrome, even getting struck by lightning – or someone now referred to as Dick is going to get it.

I would totally do that last one just to see the looks exchanged between Dick and Daryl, “Sorry Dick, I said no lightning. Look at the flowers while I get my crossbow.” The comedy element would be hysterical and watching the fans melt down would be more entertaining than this episode was (not that I didn’t enjoy this episode, I just would enjoy watching that more).

A tad unlikely you say? Remember, we’re talking about the woman who walked out into a one lane, one way street and managed to get hit by one of probably only 20 cars that were still running in Atlanta and probably one of only 5 white paneled station wagons still running in Georgia. If anyone can stumble into the way of lightning, it’s Carol.

the-walking-dead-airs-on-sunday-nights-at-9-pm-et-on-amc

We call it Thunderdome.

Yeah, we know there’s no dome here, but Thunderlandfill just didn’t have the right pop, you, know? Still, we have a woman leader with funny hair and combat sports for fun. No, no methane producing pigs or crashed 747s though. Hmmm, guess we’re not at all like Thunderdome.

Synchronized abduction is the new post-apocalyptic Olympic sport.

Did you see the Scavengers walk our gang into their garbage alley and then on command snap together quickly forming two almost perfect concentric circles around them! That’s some high level group capturing choreography right there, folks! It’s as if one of the surviving groups were made up entirely of the more goth inspired members of your local high school marching  band. Stay tuned for the half-time show.

What should we do with this new character? “Give her a Vulcan haircut!” Brillant! And ears!! “No not the ears. Let’s not get carried away.”

Man, I don’t know who Pollyanna McIntosh’s (who I’ve only seen in a horror movie entitled Let Us Prey alongside Davos from GoT) hair artist is but they either had an old, banged, Vulcan wig from any number of old Star Trek shows/movies laying around, or a serious Moe Howard fetish.

I realize that when a character’s life has been reduced to fighting dead people and gathering supplies for others, they may not have the time or motivation to get that slamming haircut that says, “I’m confident, sexy, and the leader of a group of people who live in a junkyard”, but seriously, you could plane wood with those bangs.

Does that one girl have a fucking bicycle pump?

When a scuffle breaks out among the groups I could swear that one lady was leading the charge with an old-time bicycle pump. And I don’t think it’s the non-killing kind of bicycle pump either. That bicycle pump looks like it’s seen some action. My heart aches for a show down between the girl with the killing bicycle pump and Morgan with his non-killing stick. Which could happen soon, because he’s getting that back, trust!

Celebrity death match!!! Rick strikes first with the ice cube tray!

When Rick squares off against Winslow, who is the ZAE (Zombie Apocalypse Event) version of Chopper, the junkyard dog from Stand By Me, (if Chopper were a zombie encased in metal and covered with sharp spikes) it’s in an area that is totally surround by high walls of garbage. The only weapons Rick has are his wits and whatever the Fergusons threw out before the world ended.

It was a kill or be killed moment, so Rick grabbed the first thing that he could, which looked like a large plastic ice cube tray. It shattered pretty easily, so I don’t think it was, but it definitely wasn’t a good first pick from the wall of weapons. But it was a pretty funny moment and staggered this reality’s version of the Tin Man enough for Rick to set up his killer Dim Mak Death Palm, with less than stellar results…

winslow
Your Death Palm Gung Fu is no match for my headdress.

Here we go again folks. I can hear the “this is where Rick finally loses his hand” people now.

I love how this show sometimes dicks with the people who read the comics. Case in point, we all know what happened to Glenn in the TV show, which was the same thing that happened in the comics. And the show twisted that knife several times by having Glenn and a baseball bat intersect several times during the show.

Same can be said with Rick’s hand. Rick gets his hand cut off in the comics and the show has also teased about playing that card several times. This possible time arises when Rick decides to use his Dim Mak Death Palm against Winslow only to be foiled by Winslow’s Metallic Spikes of the Dead.

But eventually Rick gets the upper hand (really, it is upper because it’s stuck on Winslow’s forehead for a bit) and it’s just a matter of pulling a bunch of garbage down on top of the old boy and then dispatching him after some first class coaching from Michonne. Good game guys! Way to play defense!

Drive me home, baby. I’m drunk. Or bleeding out. I can’t tell.

Rick is kind of loopy after his cage match, which is understandable because the dude is losing blood from his hand at about a 0.6 on the Muta scale. Seriously, if you or I had this wound in the real world, we’d have three towels wrapped around it while yelling at the person next to us to drive faster.

But not Rick, he’s a man’s man and even though he’s dropping puddles on the floor like Ric Flair, he still takes the time to have an emotional man-to-man with his priest and go shopping for his girlfriend (more on that below).

The King’s Cobbler, still a better story than The Rock in The Road

Well, it’s taken a ZAE and the loss of her abusive husband, but Carol is final experiencing what it’s like to be one of the pretty girls. She just wants to be left alone, but all the guys keep coming to her house and asking her to the dance.

Here’s a tip for you guys, if you ever have to start a conversation with, “I know you said you just wanted to be left alone…”, then maybe you should reevaluate your decision making process.

But luckily, the man who thinks he’s king has come bearing his majesty’s peach cobbler, which is either simply all the king’s bakers know how to make or the official coin of the realm now. I don’t know which.

I saw that metal cat and I just had to have it! It’s so you! I know, right!

“Victory!! Well, not really. Uneasy understanding!! That’s more like it. So, we got grabbed by this group, I got forced to fight a walker encased in armor and spikes, forged a very, very shaky alliance once I proved my worth and just for the hell of it, I’m taking this metal cat for my girlfriend. Like, I’m not even going to ask. And fuck if it belongs to anyone in this marching band trained, American Pickers group, because I’ve lost half my blood and all I can think of right now is how much I just heart my girl. Whoa! Soooo much blood loss.”

What a missed op, Daryl. If you’d have told Carol the truth she’d have been all, “Really, hold my beer.”

Some people on my FB group disagree with me on this, saying that Carol is broken, needs to find herself, work through her issues, blah, blah. Look no doubt, but here’s the thing, unless the writers deviate from cliche character writing 101, you know it’s going to happen sometime, so my thought is let’s just get on with it.

Carol finding out who Negan killed may be the kick in that ass she needs, because you know, we don’t need mopey, contemplative Carol. No, we need the Carol who goes all John Wick on large groups of evil doers and can blow up a propane tank from 200ft away with a bottle rocket, which was about a 6.5 on the WVIS (white van impossibility scale) but that’s how bad ass Carol is. She could probably even turn Morgan’s non-killing stick into a killing stick. That’s some Baba Yaga level power right there!

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“People keep asking if I’m back. And I haven’t really had an answer. But now, yeah, I’m thinkin’ I’m back!”

I ship Daryl and Shiva

Nothing makes me smile more than when a guy and a CGI tiger bond. It’s so heartwarming. Nothing fake about it what so ever. Well, except the tiger.

The Talking Dead were commenting on how funny it would have been to see Shiva pull Daryl through the bars and kill him, BUT NOT SO FAST BOYS! Save that one for later, because Daryl has to be alive to make my Carol getting struck by lightning scene work.

Tell you what, let’s woodshed in the writer’s room and get this all worked out. Lots to do. Plus we have to figure out how Morgan is going to get his non-killing stick back in the most dramatic and violent non-killing way. We may need to get some coffee in here. Looks to be a long night…

…which means I’m outta here! Was this one more shitty than last week’s post? Let me know in the comments and I guarantee it will have no baring on how shitty next week’s is.

The Walking Dead “Rock in the Road” – Well We’re Walking.

…..and walking.

The Walking Dead continues to be one of my favorite shows on TV and I look forward to it every week. That doesn’t mean that the show sometimes makes me scratch my head, or just confuse me outright.

I watch the show while at the same time participating in “Live Chat” on a WD Facebook page with like minded people. We watch the show while at the same time making inspiring comments about it, some are deep value adding comments on the technical issues of the show while some are just stupid. Think MST3K. But without the talent. Or the budget.

I wrote a buddy who I used to work with when the show went on mid-season break, but moved to another job not long after. He wanted to know what I thought, and after tossing together some musings on the show based on some of the chat comments I made I thought, why not rewrite it and post it.

I’m always wishing to expand the posts on this blog from just beer related stuff and so here we are. You wonderful people, are the benefactors of this whim. I won’t be posting it on my blog’s FB page as I think I should keep that all beer related, so only you fine people who follow through WordPress or get my blog through email get to see this. Yeah, you!! Happy Valentines day!

The comments in BOLD are what I wrote during live chat, the normal text underneath as context to the comment. OH – and spoilers.

“Do happy tears count?”

This was in response to someone who asked if anyone would cry if Father Gabriel died after raiding  (loudly, I mean isn’t anyone on guard) the pantry and driving off in a car. I’ll admit there really wasn’t an out pouring of support from the group for the man, but a tear is a tear, right? But I was told the tears had to be in sadness. Sorry, no can do. I mean, for Jerry who is the new bitchin’ character on this show, yes. Father Gabriel, no.

As for Father Gabriel? He’s dead now because we’ve all seen enough horror movies to know that the person who sat up in the car as he drove away was probably some deranged killer and we all know what happens next.

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I know what you did – 5 minutes ago in the pantry.

“Yeah, a boat, looks like the Minnow…just sit right back”

There’s now a picture of a shipwrecked boat in the opening credits montage – because why not? I guess Oceanside is going to be such a big part of this story this year, that they get their own nod in the credits. I mean, it doesn’t look like that boat from that other show that now doesn’t have a boat, but used have a boat – so I think we’re safe.

“googly eye…no s”

Someone in our group accused Coral of giving Enid googly eyes. I had to correct them. But damn that kid was working his eye patch on her. I think she digs the patch.

“Coral is your second gunman?? The one-eyed kid?”

Really? After Rick states that the group only has two guns we find out that Coral is holding the second one. WTF? The one-eyed kid who has a disturbing habit of siting his guns with the non one-eye?

Negan stated in the previous episode that the kid, “mowed down several of my men with a machine gun”, but I don’t think he should get gun privileges for that since that wasn’t his goal going into the whole situation! His objective was to kill Negan, who he missed in spectacular stormtrooper fashion.

Besides, we’ve already established that most of the women in the group are better shots than him even back when he could make googly eyes. No, give the gun to Sasha and let Coral put his patch to less dangerous uses, like flirting with Enid.

carl-gun
What could go wrong?

“Pot plants! Pot plants as far as the eye can see”

Come on. Guy thinks he’s king, has dreads (that’s racist) and has a CGI tiger which everyone in the kingdom acts as if it is real (come on guys, we know it’s the emperor’s new tiger). Guys run around in catcher’s chest protectors and think they look cool? And Jerry? Well Jerry is just too happy for a guy who is one mistake away from a Roy Horn type CGI tiger attach. You know they’re smoking something. Those tomato plants are hiding something.

“I’d like to see Ezekiel say, “what the fuck was that story about!!?!?””

The story about the dick king who put a stone in the middle of the road which basically crippled his people. The one who put a bag of gold under it because the person who decided to move the stone should be rewarded. That story. WTF? What was the point?

Oh, and not fair that the little girl in the story lost her family’s beer. That’s boss level dickdom right there! What kind of mother tells this story? But then again, Ezekiel uses Martin Luther King speeches as bedtime stories so I guess that’s just the way the world is in this show.

“OH, and hey Morgan, who did Negan kill? How about the two A list characters that aren’t in the room right now.”

Funniest question of the night was when Morgan asks who Negan killed. Who is not there that you’d care about, Morgan? Carol? No, you know where Carol is. Aaron’s husband? No, no one cares about him. In fact, most viewers were probably like me and totally forgot that Aaron was married because the show doesn’t even care to show much of the relationship because even they know it’s boring. The goat from your award-winning standalone episode? Ask the CGI tiger.

Oh, and I love Rosita throwing shade at Morgan, “think you were right, now?” after telling him who is dead. Ah, he was. He told you not to attack the Saviors. If you’d have listened to him Mother Dick and Pizza Boy would still be alive. But Rosita is bringing the Latino heat tonight (more on that in a moment) so I guess she’s not going to let the facts get in the way of a good burn.

“OK guys what do we want to do for this episode? “Group walking. Lots of group walking.””

Really, this episode puts the ‘Walking’ in The Walking Dead. Cue up the Proclaimer’s “500 miles” at the beginning of the credits and I’m sure it syncs up perfectly with the rest of the show. The group seems to spend 1/3 of the TV time walking in loose group formation. It’s like the scene in Deadpool at the end when they’re epic walking toward the bad guys to DMX. Except none of our group are chrome, has a Sinead O’Conner haircut, regenerates axed limbs or knows DMX. Gripping TV.

“Damn Rosita……”

I always thought fucking the same dead guy automatically made you friends, or at least pinky buddies. I mean, who else are you going to commiserate with at the funeral? Well not in Rosita’s world. The funny thing is just the episode before when the group all re-united, the sisters in blood gave each other a “we cool” nod and I thought Rosita nodded first. Oh well, just goes to show you Rosita don’t give a damn if you’ve fucked the same dead guy – which I’m hoping will become the new running gag for the show where all the women take turns pegging Rosita’s men – and then the men die.

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“This is Negan on 94.7 FM on your radio dial bringing [you] all of the post zombie apocalypse hits”

The team gets a walkie-talkie (courtesy of Jesus because, plot!) to listen in on Negan’s men and we find out that Negan doesn’t really want to be a spaghetti cooking mean girl, husband to 100 women, or ruler of the world. No, all he wants is to be an FM radio disc jockey!  Really, Negan’s over the airwaves eulogizing of Fat Joey was funny as shit, not to mention very important information for his men, because you know, now that fat Joey is dead, thin Joey has been promoted to just Joey. You wouldn’t want to make that mistake at the next spaghetti night.

“that was COOL AS FUCK!!”

As totally impractical and impossible as it was, that Slice Capade (credit to the fine folks at Talking Dead for the name) scene was dope as hell. Just when you think you’ve run out of ways to kill a herd of zombies in one glorious CGI blood bath, Scott Gimble and his gang says, “hold our beer” and we get a presentation of zombie purging that just makes you laugh out loud (as opposed to LOL which is an entirely different thing) plus the most impressive demonstration of cable related carnage since Ghost Ship.

Yeah, it was about an 8.5 on the white van impossibility scale, but it still was an awesome visual and a gratuitous reason to toss zombie guts all over the camera.

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“He went to find Jesus…doesn’t know he’s one town over”

Where did Father Gabriel go? That question was asked many times throughout the night. I suggested he left to find Jesus. The thing is that in this world finding Jesus is easier than you’d think. He’s usually in the next town over distributing communication equipment. Oh, he goes by Paul now because this time around Jesus is way more down to earth.

“HE SMILED!!!!! HOLY CRAP THE GUY SMILED!!”

When they were in the car after the Slice Capade, Michonne asked Rick to smile but he didn’t. I commented that he couldn’t smile, and then in the last shot, he did. What did he see? Or was it who?

The show’s producers say it was because Rick realizes he’s found his army, but I think he was just happy with all the women because it gives him more dating options because you know Michonne has lived well past the “Rick Grimes love interest” shelf life that this show has established.

And there you have it. Just some random stupid thoughts about a show that just seems to ask for them. Not sure if this will become a weekly thing or not, but you never know. If you liked it, subscribe to find out. If you thought it was shit let me know in the comments. I won’t promise that it will make the next one less shitty, but I will promise that you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you made no impact on its quality what so ever.

If nothing else, I’ll probably be doing a review of Iron Fist when it drops in March, which won’t be the first time I’ve written about the Netflix Marvel universe.

Cheers!