What I Watched Today
(rambling, random thoughts & annoyingly detailed recaps from real time TV watching)
The names of those lost are read by Estes. He says the strength of the human soul will carry them through, and if they are the last generation of humans, they won’t be lost to the universe. The future of humanity is at stake. He stands in front of a memorial made of bricks containing the DNA of the dead. Red gives Sun the slide containing Lilly’s DNA.
George tells Roberta that Dante would have gone to Pacifica. They know him there, and anyone would help him. Citizen Z says he’s considered a hero. Roberta thinks as long as he’s on the run, the guiltier he seems, and there are vigilantes out to get him. CZ can’t wait to get to Pacifica. It contains the largest collection of books. Roberta asks what the population is, and George says, sixty-five adults, and six kids. It’s not perfect, but they’re trying to make it work. Everyone is equal there. Doc says, who’s have thought the apocalypse would be the great equalizer.
They see some people running. George thinks she knows them. She says they’re talkers; running from something or someone. Roberta and George follow a path, and Roberta notes that it’s seen a lot of traffic. They find a dead talker. George says someone ate his brains, and Roberta asks if that’s unusual. George says around there it is. Some guys with guns come out of the woods, and George recognizes their leader as Henry. He’s glad to see her; they didn’t know if she was alive. They saw the attack on CZ’s live cam. George says he’s there, and introduces Roberta, saying Roberta saved her in black summer. She tells Roberta that Henry was her professor. Henry thanks Roberta for saving George. In a way, she saved all of them. He tells George that they’ve doubled their patrol since the attack, and there are rumors of other outposts being attacked. He asks if she thinks Dante is involved. She says, no, and thinks it’s insane that he’s suspect. Roberta says she heard about talkers plotting against humans, but Henry says, that’s ridiculous. They’re human too. They live peace harmony. It’s not always easy, but they make it work. At least they did until last week.
Dante watches Pacifica through binoculars. He sees a caravan of cars going in, and says, let’s move.
Doc is impressed with the outpost. It’s what he thought a college would look like. George explains that they took the south end of campus, the library, and dining hall, and made them zombie proof. They have a chef, Amy, who’s a talker. CZ says she can’t eat anything she cooks. It’s like Beethoven being deaf. George says she has an opening for a taster, and thinks Doc would be perfect. He asks where he signs up.
The dining hall is empty, and George says it’s usually packed. She asks where everyone is, and the talker busboy shrugs. There are unfinished meals on the tables, and Henry says it looks like dinner was interrupted. They decide to go to the library. CZ says it’s what drew him and Kaya there. They have the largest collection of books under human control. George says they want send expeditions out to rescue books from the great libraries. Doc says Stephen King seems tame after eight years of the apocalypse.
George shows the a mural of the Pacifica family tree. It displays all the residents of Pacifica and the ancestors they can remember. There are so few survivors, they wanted to memorialize them. The yellow leaves represent humans; the green leaves, talkers; the brown leaves are those who died before the apocalypse; and the black leaves are for those who turned zombie. Doc says, it gets to you; seeing it laid out like that. Kaya’s nana is on a ladder painting, and CZ introduces her. He wants Roberta and Doc to meet his family, and Henry tells them he’s going to see where everyone is. Doc tells nana that he has something for her pipe for later.
They go to the nursery. CZ hugs his son. Kaya says he’s alive, and runs to him. He introduces Roberta and Doc, and they hug. CZ then introduces JZ, and Roberta asks who his little friend is. Kaya says she’s Ann Marie, and George says she’s a talker. Henry runs in, and tells them there’s a town hall meeting with no talkers allowed. It’s madness.
At the meeting, a guy named Danny says, Pacifica is all of them. It’s the point of the place. Another guy asks what he’s talking about. That’s utopia. This is real life. Danny says they’re not strangers or freaks His aunt is out there, and she feeds all of them. A woman named Beth is sick of the PCness, and acting like the talkers aren’t a threat to their survival. Danny says it’s their duty. Outside in the hall, Amy tells George they’ve been locked out, and the meeting is humans only. Danny is trying to convince them otherwise, but it’s scary. Why shut them out? George says she’ll sort it out, and goes in.
Mike lies on Sun’s examining table, looking pretty beat up, and she pokes at his. She asks if he feels something, and he says it feels like his right foot is there. He asks Sun to mercy him. He can’t live without his wife and kids. Sun says she can’t. She needs to know what keeps him talking. We see that Mike has no bottom half to his body. Red comes in, and tells him she’s sorry about him and his family. Sun tries to give him a biscuit, but he slaps it away. He doesn’t want anything to make it last longer. When he leaves, Sun tells Red that his family was killed in the blast, and it left him like that. It’s worse than being a zombie. The zombies don’t know they’re zombies.
10K comes to the lab, and Sun asks how he is. He wants to get out of there, but Red says he still needs to recover, and Sun is concerned about infection. 10K is worried that the longer they stay, the harder it will be to get out. Sun checks the cauterization on his arm, and says it’s healing beautifully. 10K says, it’s not. Sun tells him that Red went back and found his hand. He tells her to sew it back on, but she says, it doesn’t work like that. He can learn to live without it, and there are prosthetic options. Estes walks in, and asks if Sun has everything she needs to complete her research. It’s more important now than ever. He’s sorry about 10K’s hand, and tells him robotics can help. He has a meeting with the outpost leaders, and they’ll see where they go from here.
At the town meeting, Beth says she didn’t come this far to be eaten alive so they can feel better about themselves. George and Roberta walk in, and George asks if she can talk, and says, this isn’t like us. Roberta says, or it’s just like us. Danny says they’re discussing putting the talkers in quarantine. The other guy says, just until they know what’s going on, and Doc says, that’s a slippery slope. Beth says they have no right to put her family at risk. The talkers are dangerous. George says no one wants to put her family at risk, but Beth doesn’t want to hear that everything is going to be okay. She’s not sitting around waiting for something to happen. She storms out, and purposely bangs into Amy in the hall.
Simon (CZ) plays Simon Says with the kids. Beth stomps in, grabbing her child, saying she’s not playing with talkers. CZ says they’re just kids, and Beth says they can kill her child. Kaya says she’s hurting their feelings. They’re still children. Beth says they don’t get it.
Nameless instigator dude says, cut the bullsh*t. The talkers aren’t human. Doc thinks they’re not showing humanity themselves. George says, as long as they have biscuits, they’re fine. A woman says, what if they don’t have them? The delivery didn’t come. Dude says that’s why they need a quarantine. If George is so hell-bent on protecting them, they’ll all be safe. Henry says they’re talking about putting their families and friends into a camp. They’re not Nazis. The woman says there are more zombies than ever. What does he think is attracting them? They’re going feral. Amy comes in with the group from the hall, and asks who she’s calling feral? Danny tells her not to take it personally. Some of the humans start to chant, quarantine. A guy says no one is separating him from his wife, and a fistfight starts.
Roberta shoots into the air, and says now that she has their attention, sit down. She’s new around there, and please forgive her if she oversteps, but they say they want to form a new country. What kind would it be? The idea of quarantine comes from a place of fear. Vigilantes are spreading hate that comes from the same fear. They just came from finding a talker left to rot alive. The woman says they’re right to be afraid. Roberta says the zombie virus isn’t the only virus they need to be worried about. Acts of hate rooted in fear are a virus too, and will eat their brains faster than any talker. How can they dehumanize their neighbors, friends, and families? How can they see them as a threat? Is that a country they want to live in? It’s not one she’s willing to die for. George thanks her. She wants everyone to take a moment and look around the room, remembering who they are to each other. Each of them are there today because of the others. They’ve saved one another’s lives multiple times. They’re only alive because of each other. The talkers are their families and friends. Dude says, not anymore; they’re dead. George says, they are, but their soul is still in there. Who knew death would be on a sliding scale, but it’s the world they live in.
The woman says the talkers want to eat their brains. Amy says, not everyone’s; just hers. Ha-ha! George says as long as they get biscuits, they’re no more dangerous than humans. Probably less, considering this bunch. She knows they’re shaken by the attack at Altura, and they can’t rule out talkers being involved. Dude ask if that’s why they’re looking for Dante, but George says he’d never be a part of it. Dude says he doesn’t know that, and neither does she. If not for him, none of them would be alive. Dude says they can’t trust the talkers, Dante included. Roberta says they have a chance at building a new world. Don’t build it on fear. George still has hope, and knows they do too. One day, the long dark howl of despair will be over. There will be an after someday, and when it comes, she wants to be able to live with herself. Roberta asks what George wants them to do, and George says, go home, rest, and remember what their dream is. One day, they’ll all be talkers. She hopes it’s different tomorrow. If Dante is on the run, it’s for a reason. Dude says, maybe he’s guilty. George says, if so, she’ll bring him to justice.
Roberta tells George that she and Doc will be on watch. Doc says, it wasn’t so pacifico tonight, but George says, they’re good people; they’re just scared. Roberta says they’re not taking chances. She walks George to her room, and Roberta wonders where George sleeps. George explains that she can’t sleep on bed anymore, and has a mat on the floor. Roberta says George did a great job calming the people. She see why they trust her. George says she did her best, and it all went to sh*t. Maybe it’s time for someone else to try. Roberta says, there is no one else, and George says she can’t be who they want her to be. Roberta says she can. There’s no one like them. They don’t get the chance to have doubts, because doubts make them hesitate, and when they hesitate, people die. She backs George 100%, but she has to ask. Does any part of her suspect Dante? George says he’s like a brother. It would be like Doc betraying Roberta. Roberta says there are few things she’s learned to depend on in the apocalypse, but Steven Beck is one of them. She asks George if she knew that was his real name, but George is already asleep.
We don’t see a face, but a guy puts a gun in his waistband.
Doc snores, as Roberta watches. The guy with the gun closes his door behind him, and Doc wakes up. Roberta motions for him to be quiet, and they go in opposite directions down the hallway. Some people are sneaking around, and Doc follows them. He gets to a door that leads outside, and he finds Roberta there. An alarm goes off. Everyone runs outside. George asks what’s going on, and Henry says, the talkers are all gone. She says, everyone? and Roberta says, everyone.
Doc, Roberta, and George arm themselves. George says they probably haven’t gotten far. Henry feels terrible; they’re probably scared. Doc says he blame them. George suggests they move quickly so they can catch up. Instigator dude says they should leave them go. They don’t belong there. Roberta says vigilantes are crucifying them. He says she doesn’t get it, and she says she does, more than he knows. CZ joins them with Kaya, saying she has intel for them. Kaya tells them the chef told her that they were headed into the woods, and they’re supposed to look for a symbol, a radiating sun. Kaya gives Roberta a paper with the symbol drawn on it, saying the chef left it behind. She told Kaya to thank Roberta for everything, and said don’t follow them. George thinks they’re safer in Pacifica than out there, but Kaya isn’t so sure. Roberta says it looks like someone is helping them, and there’s a talker underground.
Red wraps 10K’s wound. She says Sun is working on an interim solution. He asks how long it will take, but she tells him it’s hard to say with lockdown. He just wants something to pull a trigger with. Just asking, but if he’s so gung-ho about using a gun again, why isn’t he practicing shooting with his other hand?
In the woods, Roberta and company see some trucks go by. Henry says maybe it’s a delivery, but George says they’re not biscuit trucks. She finds a piece of Amy’s scarf. Some armed men come out of the woods and their leader asks if there are any talkers with them. George says she works with Estes, and he says he knows who she is. They’re looking for her pal, Dante, and he asks if she’s seen him. She says, not since the blast. Doc asks what they’re going to do with him, and the leader says, put him on trial. George asks, what court? Who are the judges? That’s what the vote was for. He says they formed a provisional court, and Estes is the judge. They’ll give Dante fair trial – then mercy him. If she helps Dante evade them in any way, she’ll be arrested too, for accessory to murder. Roberta doesn’t see where it’s a crime to help talkers, and he says, it’s the law, and he intends to enforce it. George says, there was no vote, but he says either report any contact immediately, or be subject to arrest. He tells his men, move out, and Roberta says they need find Dante before those guys do.
Sun puts blood on a slide and looks at it. She puts it in a case that says Alvin Murphy, and takes it to the memorial wall, sliding it into one of the bricks. Estes sees her, and asks why she’s not in the lab. She says she needed time to think. The last three tests were a failure, and the side effects were horrible. Estes wants her work to continue without interruption. She’s close to the protein that drives the behavior of the talkers. If they find it, they might be able to figure out what the black rain did to restore consciousness to the dead. Sun says they’re killing them in the process, but Estes says if they do nothing, the talkers will die anyway. Sun needs more time, and he says they don’t have it. If they don’t find a solution soon, they’ll have no choice but to treat talkers as zombies. They’ve seen what happens when they’re starving. He tells her that she has 48 hours.
Roberta asks Henry how long he’s known George. She’s known George since black summer. Henry says he’s known her longer than that. She was one of his students. There was something about her even then. Others got killed, but she she kept surviving, and took them with her. Doc says George seems nice, but he knows badass when he sees it. She could probably mercy a horde with her eyes closed. Roberta asks if there’s any chance that Dante is helping the talkers disappear, and George says, if he is, it’s for good reason. He’s saved too many humans to start killing them now. Doc finds the symbol painted on a tree, and calls the others over. George says they’re on the right trail, and Roberta says the paint is still wet. She tells Doc there’s something familiar about it that she can’t place.
George finds some supplies under a tarp, and says it could be a drop. They see a backpack, and she tells them it’s Dante’s. They hear a sound that Doc describes as a giant bug zapper. We see a zombie being poked with an electrified prod. George says, puppies and kittens, and Roberta says, a whole damn litter. A group of zombies moves toward them at a pretty fast clip.
Red tells 10K that he should get some food, but he says he’s not hungry. She says there’s a movie in the dining hall on a real They should go; it will take his mind off things. She says the movie is The Fugitive, and I literally LOL. I also wonder how many people will get the joke. The fugitive’s nemesis is the one-armed man. 10K says he knows what Red did, she did to save his life. Red says she’s not sorry, and she’d do it again. 10K says he’s done the same things. It’s not her. She’s the only thing keeping him going. If he can’t shoot, who is he? She says he’s ten thousand. He’s a good shot because of his mind and eyes, not because of his hand. He’ll have to learn again, and it’s all in there. She touches his head, and he says he needs to think.
Kaya tells CZ that George is sure Dante is innocent. CZ says it would be out of character. He’d lay down his life for them. Kaya asks why would anyone think did it? and CZ says, he was there before the blast, and no one has seen him since. He got it all on tape. Kaya asks where the tape is, and he says he handed it over to Estes for analyzation. She wants to see it, but he says he won’t get it back until after the investigation. Kaya says it’s uploaded to a server. CZ says she has that look in her eye again, and suggests the get started.
Doc asks when the cavalry is coming, and George says they are the cavalry. That’s what he was afraid of. These zombies are quick, and one takes Henry right off of a cliff. George goes after him, and Roberta wonders where they’re all coming from. Henry is up and running, a zombie close on his heels. George pikes it in the head, but another takes its place and knocks Henry down. George tackles the zombie, pummeling its face into oblivion. Doc says, damn. Have mercy. George asks if Henry is okay. He thinks so, and wonders how many times she’s saved his life. She says she likes him as a human. Roberta notices the sweatshirt one of the zombies is wearing, and says this many zombies from Kalamazoo Water Park isn’t random. They hear an explosion. Kaya is on the radio saying, Pacifica…mayday… but she’s breaking up. Roberta takes the radio and asks if Kaya can hear her. Kaya says, Roberta… Pacifica…. mayday… Roberta help us. They hear another explosion, and Kaya says, attack… don’t know why… Roberta tells her, hang on; she’s coming. Henry says he’ll catch up. When the others are out of sight, he rolls up his sleeve, revealing a bite.
Sun goes into the lab, and sees Red is there. Red tells Sun that she borrowed some of her gear. There must be some way to make a trigger finger for 10K. Sun says, how about this? and shows Red a torch.
On the outskirts of Pacifica, there are dead bodies all over the place. Roberta tells the group to keep their eyes open. They could be anywhere. There’s another explosion. Roberta says not to rush in and get killed. It won’t do anyone any good. Beth is lying on the ground, bloody, and calls to George. She says, the dead; so many. Her baby; so many. They hear another blast, and Beth asks for mercy. Roberta aims her gun, but George stops her. She closes Beth’s eyes and mercies her.
Dante stands on a hill looking down at the outpost. He says, they have no idea what’s coming. Time to move. Humans don’t like being killed. We see a group with him, and Amy is among them.
Things fall around CZ at the library, as he calls for Kaya. He hears screaming. Outside, people are running, and it’s chaos.
The text says, to be continued…
Next time, Zombies + bombs = bombies, and Doc says he’s good.
👻 Beyond the Sanderson Sisters…
🎃 This Halloween, if you need a break from twenty-four hours of Hocus Pocus, and are looking for something less conventional, I have a few suggestions. The Cabin in the Woods never gets old for me, but my traditional Halloween go-to has always been The Midnight Hour. A TV movie from 1985, it was hard to find on DVD up until recently. The words TV movie alone might be off-putting, but I love this bittersweet Halloween tale. Some high school kids (who look to be about thirty-years-old) steal some costumes from a museum for their Halloween party, and cast a spell, inadvertently raising the dead. It boasts an eclectic cast, including a pre-Trek LeVar Burton, Shari Belafonte-Harper, Dick Van Patten, and Kevin McCarthy from the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers. It’s just not Halloween to me without it. You can watch the whole thing here:
Another gem of a forgotten film is Ravenous, a story about soldier cannibals during the Mexican American War. Guy Pearce and Robert Carlyle star, and it doesn’t get much better. Well-written, wickedly funny, and gory as hell, it also features the most heart-pounding fall down a hill I have ever seen. You can find it on YouTube for a small fee, and you can read about it here:
If musicals suit your Halloween mood, both Shock Treatment and Phantom of the Paradise are definite contenders. While not exactly scary (well, it depends on what you’re afraid of), they fit the spirit of the holiday. The former was released as a sequel to The Rocky Horror Picture Show, although I’m not sure why, since the only similarity is the film’s two lead characters are named Brad and Janet (Cliff De Young and Jessica Harper, who has a voice like honey). Also written by Richard O’Brien, it features much of the same cast, but is more of an homage to the evils of reality TV and the average person’s desire for fame. It bombed at the box office, but IMO is better than RHPS in some ways. You can also find it on YouTube, and get an interesting take on it here:
Phantom of the Paradise is somewhat Rocky Horror-esque, but was written by Paul Williams. Before you laugh, know that this is no Carpenters song. With a plotline that borrows heavily from Phantom of the Opera, it’s also a story about how far one will go to achieve fame. It will cost you a couple of bucks to watch the whole thing, but you can see the trailer for free here:
🔁 Clockwise From the Top…
The Cabin in the Woods, Phantom of the Paradise, The Midnight Hour, Ravenous, and Shock Treatment