Talking Out The Dead: “JSS”

Kelen Conley: Holy Wolves at the walls.

Again, this episode really has me hopeful for the direction the show is going. It’s seems like they’re ready to attempt stepping outside of the box of being just a zombie show. At the end of the day, it’s obviously a zombie show, but they’re focusing more on the elements that make a show great.

For example, Breaking Bad started as a show about a high school teacher, who finds out he has cancer, and attempts to sell meth so that he can leave his family with something after he is gone. By the time we get to the final images of “Felina”, the show went much further than that basic idea. The show was really about Walter White and his search to finally make his mark in a world that he feels has spurned him his whole life.

The Wire was a show about Baltimore cops trying to take down Baltimore drug dealers. But by Season 5’s end, The Wire’s main character the whole series was Baltimore, Maryland and the cycles of life that people go through while living in this city. When TWD finally ends, it’ll still be a zombie show but maybe, just maybe, from here they can tell a bigger story than what they have so far. I have no idea how they are going to do this but these first two episodes really give me hope. I also think that Fear The Walking Dead may be a reason they’re stepping up their game as well. They can do the basic zombie story on FTWD and they tell the more complex one here.

So yeah, holy Wolves at the walls! They didn’t waste any time getting to their invasion of Alexandria. I noticed that they attacked while most of the group was gone trying to lead the walkers from “First Time Again” to wherever Rick has them going. That means that they’ve had eyes on the place, which means that there are definitely more Wolves out there than the first wave that they attacked with. And one of them made it out with a gun!

Before I move on, I have to say that I don’t care for Enid at all. I’m sure you’ll defend her, as you’re apt to do whenever I declare I don’t like a character on the show. But there’s something going on with her! “Oh, she lost her family, that’s gotta be rough.” Yeah, but still! They’ve really played up the mystery part of her past. I’ve read some theories that she may be a “Wolf in sheep’s clothing” in Alexandria but I don’t fully buy it. The Wolves that found Aaron’s photos seemed to not know of Alexandria’s existence. And they don’t seem to be the plan ahead type either. Adding to my suspicions, Enid dipped out of Alexandria after the threat was over. Considering the flashback made it look like she’s been on her own, she probably knows the truck horn is going to draw walkers and she’s “JSS-ing” the hell out of dodge. Or she could be up to something!

OH. Jessie, Sam, and Ron can walk into that herd that’s coming for all I care as well too. I have no interest in their story, considering Rick will be nailing Jessie soon instead of Michonne, Ron obviously likes Enid and thinks now is the best time to throw adolescent hissy fits, and Sam… you know, I think Sam has potential as long as he sticks with Carol. But we all know how well kids and Carol go together.

NINJA CAROL. I’m not going to spend too much time on her other than the fact that Alexandria knows that she’s a bad ass now. Ultimately, if TWD lasted another 5 to 6 seasons, I could see Carol outlasting Rick to the series finale. Considering her performance at Terminus and now in this episode, I really feel bad that I thought she was going to die last season. She’s invaluable to the group. Irreplaceable. NINJA CAROL.

This leads us to my final point before I pass the rock to you my friend: Morgan is positioned against Rick & Carol now. While Morgan got some great scenes fighting the Wolves, he spent most of the episode yelling at Carol not to kill them! DUDE. These guys are just climbed over the walls of Alexandria and just started murdering all the residents! For no reason! I don’t even think they want to take Alexandria; they’re just the Jokers of TWD!

To quote Marlo Stansfield, “You want it to be one way.” And at some point Morgan has to understand that it’s not. I still want to know why all life is precious now but he went to the extreme not to kill Wolves and some of them escaped. Those Wolves are going to run right back into the group that’s outside of Alexandria, maybe even kill someone… ugh. He’s causing more problems than anything else right now and that sucks because I’ve been waiting for Morgan to join the group for so long. I’m starting to think a big mistake is being made with his direction.

Do we really need to see someone else to go against Rick for x amount of episodes before something catastrophic happens and they change their tune? Why can’t everybody mostly get on the same page to face the outside threats? I really feel like we’ve seen this story too many times at this point.

But on the other hand, would it make the group too strong if everybody just aligned with Rick with a smile? Tension is needed so that the group doesn’t turn into a merry band of walker killers, because if that were the case, would TWD still be watchable? Can you see yourself tuning in every week if no one is dying, everyone is working together with one goal, and smiles are on everyone’s faces?

Yeah, I can’t either. I just hate that in two episodes time they’ve selected Morgan to be the internal instigator of turmoil. But I’ve rambled on enough for now, have at thee!

Thomas Crawford: Ah a good ramble my friend. If you keep this up you may be as good at me one day at just going on and on and… well, you know. The fact is that this episode, for all intents and purposes, was freaking awesome. Don’t try to hide the fact that you were on the edge of your seat like me from the word go almost. It was just, that thing, it had that sort of something that I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen, and neither could you.

So, the Wolves, who are they? What do they want? Are they the Jokers of TWD? I hope not. I mean, a cult of crazies will kill this group for me. Come on writers, give some reason, some background, and don’t just let it be about a group of people trying to kill others for fun. I think everyone who watches post-apocalyptic shows or movies can agree that it has been done. The Wolves should be more. I haven’t read the graphic novels up to that part so I don’t know… however; I think that there is more to the Wolves then just crazies who carve a W on their foreheads. Hopefully, we will get some insight into them as the season progresses.

I’m going to surprise you here pal. I don’t trust Enid. I don’t trust that bitch. If she is gonna give it up to Carl I might come around but other than that… nope. There are just too many shades of crazy surrounding that girl. The whole point of JSS, that whole theme really stuck with me.

On one hand, I totally respect that mindset. The world is a tough and cruel place. I’m talking the real world, not just TWD world. However, take it to that level, and then JSS takes on a whole new meaning. Was it just me, or does she seem like she’d be willing to do anything to survive (that poor turtle, he never got a chance to grow to be Donatello)?

I’m not saying she is with the Wolves, or working with them, or whatever. However, if it comes down to her survival, and screwing over the people of Alexandria or Carl, she’d do it in a heartbeat. It might even be an entire episode at this point, her doing something just so she can survive. We will have to wait and see.

I just like the fact I can throw it back that I actually agree with you, Enid is one of those conniving types that I have my eye on. Something big is going to happen and it will involve her. I guess this is a prediction. I’m not going to say if she goes right or left, but I think it will happen before the season ends. I also think it is going to have a fall out for the folks of Alexandria and our heroes.

Carol the NINJA… actually very accurate. The truth is that history points out ninjas weren’t the, garbed in black, strike from shadow types. They were the ones that became the target’s aide, chef, or gardener. They infiltrated and became a trusted member before carrying out the assassination or sabotage.

Carol “became” a wolf and then used it against them. Just a bit of dumb trivia, but the ninja thing holds water. Why did we ever think she was on the chopping block? Oh that is right; we were so caught up with the Glenn and Maggie thing or Tyreese thing… or whatever.

The fact is that Carol, sort of embodies JSS. She is willing to go to extremes to survive. Wow, watch old episodes from season 1 and 2. She is a totally different person. She is also quite hot about how she does it. Again, I’m a pig deal with it.

The fact is, Carol isn’t the female version of Rick. I’m sure a lot of fans sort of see her that way. She is more than that. I’m starting to see her as colder and darker than Rick. Rick still has some spark of belief in humanity and hope for a future.

Carol is the cold, practical, dark truth of TWD world. I know that sounds melodramatic but can you really disagree? She lies without a conscience about it at time. She pretends to be Susie Homemaker… while plotting to take over the town. She watches a violent murder, and immediately deduces how to get close and stay safe while dealing with the threat.

THINK about it. She watches someone she just chatted with cut down…. and comes up with a plan within minutes to get close and go to where? The armory. She knew where they would try to get to; she knew where she needed to get to first.

There was no shock and awe… it was another day in the world to Carol. She dealt with the guys in the same manner. Hello sir, invade my town, BANG, good bye. She didn’t even acknowledge Morgan’s protests during the entire invasion. It was like something clicked, and it was JSS time. Like how I tied that all together? Not sure if the writers wanted that tie in, but that is what I saw. The whole Enid and JSS, and how Carol dealt with the Wolves. All I can say… JSS.

I could probably write an entire book about Carol and her transformation. Actually, who knows? Maybe I will for fun. You have to agree though; there are some scary parallels with her, Enid, and JSS. Do you think this is some foreshadowing for rest of season? We know there are going to be some deaths, but what will people do to “just survive somehow?” Also, another question: Is survival enough? Or does it just reduce everyone to animals, wolves, and sheep if you like? I’m gonna throw it to you buddy, I’ve said enough.

KC: Everyone is an animal at this point. Kill or be killed. And that’s exactly why it blows my mind that Morgan and the Alexandrians don’t see this. There are no better options and there is no changing the way someone is in TWD universe now. There are no prisons (RIP prison base), no support groups, how in the hell can you expect to leave someone alive who you just humiliated? There’s no law! They will retaliate and if they don’t kill you, they’ll end up hurting or killing someone close to you. That’s how it works now. There is no better way; no other options.

Everyone is an animal.

Maybe whatever sparked this change in Morgan to bring him back from crazy town will convince me otherwise. Maybe there’s something that he knows that will be a major reveal for the rest of the series. Maybe I don’t like hating Morgan the way I do because he didn’t take care of business. So many maybes, not enough time.

I cannot spend enough time gushing about the evolution of Carol. I think the only reason we thought she was a goner was because she got hit by a car and ended up in that awful hospital that took my Beth away. Oh, her and Daryl fell off an overpass in a van too… and survived! So I think it made perfect sense at the time to think that her luck was bound to run out.

One of my favorite things about her is how she has been allowed to blossom while still being a part of Rick & the Daryls. Sure, Rick made the wrong call and sent her away from the prison (Carol made the wrong call too, but considering Rick was more concerned about farming than dealing with the prison illness, Carol trying to stop it with Karen and David isn’t that wrong. She just handled it terribly), mostly to keep her away from a vengeful Tyreese (who we now know wouldn’t have done shit), but the main thing is that she stayed alive and found her way back to the main group just in time at Terminus.

While the latter half of Season 4 was about splitting the group up to better develop their characters, the one who has made it the farthest (Carol), is the one we didn’t see until she found Tyreese and the kids. We didn’t even get her whole story about what happened from the time Rick left her to the time she saw the prison burning and she’s still the second (maybe the first) strongest character on the show.

Also, JSS has always been Carol’s mantra. She put up with abuse from Ed for years on top of years, and the whole time, she was just surviving somehow. When Sophia came out of Hershel’s barn in Season 2, the Carol we had saw so far died. She was reborn in the image of TWD world, still fiercely protective of her group and making sure they all just survive somehow.

It may seem like Carol has no fear anymore but I think she’s similar to what Bruce Banner said his secret was in The Avengers, except that instead of always being angry, Carol is always living in fear. She lived in fear for years before the apocalypse; now she has found a way to internalize her fear and use it to become this living, breathing bad ass among the living dead.

I love Carol so much. Don’t ever leave me again Ninja Carol.

The fact that you’re picking up the same vibes from Enid is wonderful. She’s always sneaking off, always keeping to herself, and she’s (probably intentionally) put a rift between Carl and Ron. So not just is Ron an adolescent in a jacked up world, his dad got murdered by this random dude who just moved in a few weeks ago and he’s supposed to be okay with that, but the chick that he obviously has a crush on seemingly has eyes for the son of the guy who killed his dad? That’s something to keep an eye on.

I still don’t think she’s with the Wolves but I do think that she’s with another group, a group that could be a threat later in the season. Or maybe I’m not giving her enough credit and she’d just rather be alone and only have to protect herself. Maybe seeing her parents eaten and some other things along the way have broken her of the ability to connect with another person on a “normal” level. Maybe she feels like Bob did, and that anyone she comes around will end up dying at her feet. Maybe she’s just scared.

Or maybe she’s a spy and she’s been setting Alexandria up the whole time! She had keys! Someone had to let the first Wolves in right?! We saw some climb over the walls but how did the first ones get in? Is Enid just a decoy for the real traitor of Alexandria? Because how hard would it be for someone to be a Wolf in Alexandria clothing? So many questions! But I agree, Enid will be back. I’m just a bit sad that if she is just a Wolf, I’ll be disappointed there wasn’t more to the story. Kind of like I was with the mystery of who killed Karen and David when it was, in fact, Carol who did what she said she did.

I really can’t stress enough how great these first two episodes have been so far and I’m anxious to get back to Rick’s team to find out how they fare with the herd of walkers breaking off from the main road. There is an unimaginable amount of them headed towards Alexandria, exactly where they didn’t want them. Alexandria obviously took heavy losses this episode, they used some artillery, and there’s at least one gun outside the walls in the hand of a Wolf, who is probably headed back towards our heroes.

This is definitely one of those times I’d be okay if I could binge watch the whole season. The suspense so far is killing me!

Make sure you kill my brain though.

TC: All this excitement and just two episodes in, you have to admit it makes one wonder what the hell is going to happen down the road. I think we have hit on all the major topics that we are interested in. Let me just throw up some things that I have been thinking about since watching the episode.

Let’s see, neither of us trusts Enid. A shock, but we both know she is going to play a role. Could she be the downfall of Carl?

How about Deanna staying in the truck? I mean, I know she is going through a lot, but will she pull it together? I know I mentioned this in the last post, but seriously. Maggie had to literally take charge.

How about Maggie, we are both so hung up on Carol, we sort of forgot Maggie made sure Deanna was safe. I wonder where she got off too though. While Morgan and Carol were busy with the armory, I don’t recall what Maggie was doing.

I also feel like the characters that have been wallflowers, are going to remain wallflowers just for the time being and by that I mean Tara and Rosita. And Eugene has sort of been relegated for comic relief.

Why the big deal with the new doctor and her trying to save the guy’s life? That has honestly been bothering me. During the entire attack, you had this small group trying to save this guy’s life. I’m not saying it isn’t heroic, just seemed strange.

Random thought, could this doctor have some development with Eugene perhaps? I mean both seem a bit eccentric and it would be nice to see them explore that avenue, even for a little while.

Another woman we forgot, what about Jessie? She took down the crazy Wolf in her house, right in front of Ron, with a knife, crazy stab style. So do you think this is going to affect the young lad’s psyche, seeing his mom stab someone to death, with blood flying everywhere? Nah, he can get through it, kids are tough. Mark my words though: Watch out for Ron. The more I think about it, I think I worry more about him doing something than Enid.

Overall, this episode really seemed to be the chance for a lot of the women to kick some ass and take some names. I’m starting to wonder what the fallout is going to be, as we all know this is going to change a lot of things for the Alexandrians.

It is one thing to go on runs and take down walkers. This is being attacked in what you consider your “safe home”. This is going to screw up the minds of all the people who managed to survive the Wolves. They are going to be scared and wanting answers and protection.

This seems like it would be great for Rick and the crew. However, I’m not sure that everyone in Alexandria is completely sure about Rick. Yes, what gave me that crazy idea? Even with Deanna’s backing, I’m not sure this is going to drive people over to Rick’s side; perhaps it will drive them even more against him.

I could of course be jumping the gun, as we have a herd, maybe more like swarm, of walkers heading to Alexandria. It could be a moot point as there are not enough bullets in TWD world to take out all of them.

I’m not sure what is driving me crazier. I know that the huge herd is heading for the town. They have just been hit, they are spent, and many are dead or wounded. Will Rick’s crew be able to do anything to get the herd back on track?

This and the first episode have been very action packed and intense to say the least. I have to agree this is one time I wish I could just sit and serial watch the episodes one after the other. We are going to have to wait and see what is going to happen and if Rick’s group can get the job done. Or, will the down and out Alexandrians have to face another deadly threat just hour or so after the attack?

0 Replies to “Talking Out The Dead: “JSS””

  1. There has to be some kind of link between the wolves and Alexandria. There's a lot of emphasis placed on the “A” stamps – in fact Rick was asked to get the stamp on his hand during the party in the last season. It's very coincidental that the wolves have a “W” on their foreheads. In this episode, Carol wiped off the “W” she was using for camouflage while simultaneously looking at the “A” stamped on the railing of the steps she was sitting on.

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