Monday, April 8, 2013

Tom Goes to the Chair: Recapping the Best Dramas Cable TV Has to Offer

Posted By on Mon, Apr 8, 2013 at 12:06 PM

Sorry this is late, but I had to watch the season-ending episodes of The Walking Dead and Justified to see which one was better. It was Justified, but The Walking Dead continues to amaze despite the idiotic game of musical chairs that AMC insists on playing with the people running the show.

I suppose I have to issue a SPOILER ALERT here, just in case you haven’t seen the respective season enders. In the slim chance that you don’t watch The Walking Dead, shame on you. There are zombies out there! If, by some chance, you don’t watch Justified, double shame on you. It’s the best-written show on TV. I hope the zombies get you.

This entire season of Dead had been leading up to an armed showdown between Rick, the put-upon leader of the good humans, and The Governor, the incredibly evil leader of the sheep humans who had been lulled into a false sense of security by the Governor and his ruthless henchmen.

The Governor is a low mutha’, indeed. He kept his zombie-fied daughter in a closet and had his nerd assistant run experiments to try to determine the source of the zombie virus. Meanwhile, Rick, who somehow survived the initial zombie apocalypse while locked inside a hospital room, escapes, only to find that his wife has been sleeping with—and is probably pregnant by—Rick’s former partner and best friend. Rick has to kill the best friend and then deal with the zombie that the former best friend becomes. Then, the wife has the baby but (shall we say) dies after complications during childbirth. What bothers me is that Rick then starts seeing his dead wife everywhere, as though he doesn’t have enough real crap to worry about.

Anyway, Andrea, who was one of the initial band of Good Humans, gets separated from the group and is saved by Michonne, this badass woman with a badass sword. The two women happen upon Woodbury and are taken in by The Governor. Michonne wants to split but Andrea wants to stick around and play some mattress hockey with the charismatic Governor.

In ensuing episodes, both Rick and Andrea have the opportunity to kill the Governor, but neither does. Let’s just say they should have.

In the season finale, the Governor has captured Andrea and is holding her, chained to a chair, in his Rape Room. He stabs Milton and leaves him to die a slow, painful death, after which Milton will become a zombie and dine on Andrea, who will, in turn, become a zombie. Did I mention that the Governor is low?

After a crazy shootout, the Governor snaps and kills most of his followers because they don’t want to keep fighting against the Good Humans. Andrea is bitten by zombie Milton, so Rick (who arrived too late to help her) gives Andrea a gun with which she can blow her own brains out.

That’s what passes for a happy ending on that show.

Meanwhile, on Justified, Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) solidified his position as the baddest dude on TV. Early on in the episode, he dispatches three bad guys in spectacular fashion, then later sees to it that a mob boss is shuffled off this mortal coil in a double-cross no one saw coming.

In the mean time, Raylan’s buddy/nemesis, Boyd Crowder, makes one increasingly desperate move after another to keep himself and his fiancée, Eva, out of prison. It doesn’t end well, setting up next season quite nicely.

Walton Goggins’ portrayal of Boyd Crowder is a tour de force. When he’s on the screen, you can’t take your eyes off him with his crazy, spiked hairdo and what looks to be an extra row of teeth. Then comes that Harlan County drawl, just as likely to be quoting Shakespeare as Clyde Barrow. If he doesn’t win the Emmy next fall for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, there should be a federal investigation.

So now two of my favorite shows are gone for a while and I am diminished. I have the final seasons of Breaking Bad and Dexter to look forward to this summer, but that’s cold comfort.

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