Walker Wednesday

Walker Wednesday

 

The Walking Dead, Season 7, episode 4

November 13, 2016

This was a super-sized episode of The Walking Dead, and when the Saviors show up at Alexandria (early), not even a week has passed since Negan killed Glenn and Abraham. And Daryl is with them as the help. He wasn’t allowed to talk to anyone, and even when Negan gave him permission to plead his case for staying, Daryl didn’t utter a word. Different people are going to have different ideas as to why he chose to remain silent, but to me it was part protecting the group and part him feeling like he didn’t deserve to come back. He has enough guilt over Glenn and he’s been through a lot at the hands of the Saviors, then he shows up in Alexandria to find out Maggie “is dead.” I can’t even imagine how Daryl is feeling after that bomb was dropped on him, but to me it seems very possible that he’s going back with the Saviors because he feels like he deserves to be punished just a little bit more.

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While the Saviors were in Alexandria, Dwight made Rosita and Spencer go fetch Daryl’s motorcycle. Dwight is a character I’ll be interested to watch develop. He’s the bad guy, but I think he’s biding his time. What the motorcycle is all about is a puzzle, though. This guy is in charge of Daryl’s torture – or indoctrination if that’s what you want to call it – but he’s doing it out of his own sense of survival. Dwight knows that if he crosses Negan, he’s not the only one who will pay. Negan may think Sherry is “super hot,” but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t slit her throat and trade her in for another woman if he thought it would teach a lesson. Dwight knows this, and he’s playing along, but I think that when the moment is right, he very well could be the group’s biggest ally and Daryl’s only chance of getting out of there alive.

Spencer made it pretty clear that he blames Rick for everything that’s happened with the Saviors. He told Rosita that the group should have made a deal with the Saviors when they had the chance. Problem with that is, things wouldn’t have turned out much different. Yes, perhaps Abraham and/or Glenn would still be alive, but someone else would have died in some other way. Negan would have thought it was necessary the moment he interacted with Rick, because Rick is a man who doesn’t go down easy and Negan is good at reading people. But Spencer is one of those characters who doesn’t learn easily. No matter what Rick does, no matter how things go or how long they live or what Rick gets them through, Spencer is always going to think he could be a better leader. He’s wrong, but that’s how it’s going to be until something major happens to kick him in the ass and change his mind.

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While in Alexandria, the Saviors were nice enough to leave all the food, but they took every single gun Rick and his group had. All of them. Rick even showed he was trustworthy by retrieving the gun Michonne had stashed away, which happened to not be on the inventory. Yes, he could have left it where it was, but I think his reasons for turning it over to Negan were two-fold. One, to show he was on board, but also so he could try to get Daryl back. It didn’t work, but I think it was the right move. After all, one gun isn’t going to do them a whole lot of good at this point, so why not add it to the ones Negan already took?

The Saviors also took most of the mattresses in Alexandria. Now, I didn’t understand this at the time. For one, Negan’s group is pretty established, so I figured they probably had their own beds already. Also, it seems like it would be fairly easy to replace the mattresses. I mean, odds are not many people raided mattress stores at the end of the world, plus every house you pass is going to have a couple beds up for grabs. But it all makes sense when Michonne discovers a pile of burned mattresses at the end of the episode. It didn’t have a thing to do with the beds. It was about letting everyone in Alexandria know where they stand. Not everyone was there to see what happened to Glenn and Abraham, and to many of the people in that town, losing the guns won’t have much of an impact. A bed, though… They’ll think about that every time they lay down to go to sleep. And the Saviors left the burned mattresses close enough that someone from the town was sure to find them, kind of like a big f-you for everyone in the town. Smart. Negan continues to surprise me with his psychological mind games.

My biggest concern during this episode, though, was Judith. I have this awful feeling that she is going to be of great interest to Negan when he finds out about her. For one, he already has it in for Rick, and after Carl decided to be a badass during this episode, he probably has it in for Rick Jr. too. What better way to make sure these two do as they’re told than to take Judith? The second Negan sees how much this baby means to them, she’ll be gone.

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Secondly, we know from last week’s episode that Negan is trying to get Dwight’s wife pregnant. At first I thought them throwing this into the story was just so they could emphasize how bad things are for Dwight, but now I think it might be foreshadowing things to come. Why Negan wants a baby is a mystery, but it has been established that he does. Thirdly, I found it very interesting that Judith was conveniently out of sight when the Saviors where around. You would have thought that the existence of a baby would have come up in some way when Negan’s men were searching the houses, but nope. Not a peep out of baby Judith. Finally, we got a major bomb dropped on us during this episode, something viewers have been speculating about since season two.  Judith is Shane’s baby. Rick knows it, apparently he’s known it all along, but he made a special point of saying, “I know Judith isn’t mine. I know it. I love her. She’s my daughter. But she isn’t mine.” Why after all this time would they choose this particular moment to bring Shane up unless they wanted to emphasize something about Judith? They wouldn’t. Writers always have a reason.

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What else happened in this episode… Michonne sneaks out to practice shooting and apparently she’s a really bad shot. After all this time during the apocalypse, you’d think she would have learned how to shoot just a little better. Was she planning to kill Negan when he showed up? Seems like it, which may be another reason Rick took the rifle. Also, why did Rick think he needed to tell Negan that Maggie died? To protect her or to cover up the fact that they are allies with the Hilltop? And is she out of the woods? Did she have surgery? Is the baby okay? Where’s Sasha? I’m not quite sure about all that yet, so I guess we’ll just have to see how it all plays out. Either way, things are going to get worse for Maggie (and the whole group) before they get better.

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Walker Wednesday

Walker Wednesday

 

The Walking Dead, Season 7, episode 3

November 6, 2016

 

For me, episode three was almost as emotional to watch as the season premiere was. Before we’d even reached the first commercial break, I had turned to my husband and said, “I can understand why people have stopped watching.” Here’s why.

The episode starts with Dwight going about his business. He’s making a sandwich, giving us a little glimpse into how things are run.

Dwight takes.

While other people living with the Saviors have to stand in line and wait their turn, sometimes begging for a small piece of bread, Dwight jumps the line and takes an entire loaf. Then he takes pickles from someone. He takes lettuce. He takes mustard. He takes an egg. Others get nothing, while he takes what he wants.

It’s obvious Dwight is at the top of the food chain here, so you think everything must be good for him. Then he steps outside, all ready to eat his sandwich (which looked really good by the way), and he seems to lose his appetite when he looks out over a yard of zombies who are chained up and struggling to get free.

Like Dwight, I was really bothered by the yard of zombies. It might not seem like much to some people, but to me it was another example of just how little humanity lives in Negan and his top men. The zombies may have been around for over a year now, and the sight of them may have become almost normal, but they were still people at one time. They were fathers and sons and sisters and mothers, and it should bother a person to see them chained up the way they were. A person who can feel anything should be able to look at killing them as an act of mercy. I think of it the way Rick did, way back in the first season when he woke up to a crazy world that had fallen apart. After parting ways with Morgan the first time, Rick went back to find the half-eaten zombie he saw when he first left the hospital, and before he put a bullet in its head Rick said,  “I’m sorry this happened to you.” To me, that’s a normal reaction.

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That moment when Dwight loses his appetite is our first clue that he might not be as thrilled with his position in life as he first appeared to be. Every time we’ve run into him since he stole Daryl’s crossbow, he seemed loyal and pleased with his place at Negan’s side. He also seemed to have a personal vendetta against Daryl.

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But it isn’t too long into episode three when we find out something is up with Dwight. 

We run into the woman he was with before, who turns out to be his wife, and it seems they are no longer together. Even stranger, she’s with Negan now, and apparently trying to get pregnant (creepy alert). There’s even a moment when Negan tries to use her as a reward for a job well done, which he doesn’t seem to realize would only be adding insult to injury for Dwight. It’s a messed up situation where Dwight has been backed into a corner of loyalty, and it seems he isn’t the only one.

No one except a handful of Negan’s top mean looked happy to be with the Saviors. The people are there because they feel like they have no other choice, but they’re scared of Negan. They bow down when he walks into a room, which I felt was a bit ironic considering we’d just met a man the week before who actually calls himself a king, yet not a single one of his subjects bowed to him. Negan rules with fear. He thrives on it. He uses the zombies in the yard to lord his power over people. He carries Lucille with him everywhere he goes as a reminder of what can happen if you cross him.

Seeing what Daryl is going through in this episode… Wow. He’s being conditioned and tortured. Locked in a cell with nothing—not even clothes at first—and fed dog food sandwiches while overly happy music is pumped into his cell. They’re trying to break him, and as the viewer, it’s easy to think that Daryl is stronger than this. He’s been through a lot and always come out of it. He’s Daryl Dixon. He can handle it. But now he’s alone with little hope of rescue, and he’s carrying the guilt of Glenn’s death with him on top of everything else. His one attempt at escape ends up being a trap and deep down he knows he only has one choice to get out of this alive: follow Negan. Daryl says he’ll never bow to Negan, but I have to admit that I like Dwight, I found myself wondering if he would be able to keep it together. A person can only take so much before survival instincts kick in. 

The standoff between Daryl and Negan at the very end of the episode was intense. First, we get the story of what happened with Dwight and his wife. She offered herself up to Negan in exchange for her husband’s life. Holy shit. Dwight has to walk around every day knowing that his wife is with a man he hates, and he has to serve that man.

Is it worth it, though? That’s the question. Watching this episode, I found myself wondering why these people were fighting to live if this was the only future they saw for themselves. I got why Gordon (the man who ran away from the Saviors) chose death over going back. There is no future in this group, not unless you’re willing to sell your soul. Dwight can see that logically, but he hasn’t reached the point where he’s ready to throw in the towel because he is focused on keeping his wife alive. Daryl gets it, though. Daryl understands Dwight now and I think that may turn the tide of how these two interact. But it’s also why Daryl refuses to give in. He knows doing it would be the easy way out. His torture would end. He could leave the room and join the Saviors and go about his day just like Dwight does, but it would be a betrayal after what happened. He inadvertently caused Glenn’s death, and giving in to Negan’s demands would be wrong in Daryl’s eyes. It would be repeating the mistake he already made, and he’d have to walk around for the rest of his life with the blood of every person Negan killed or hurt on his hands, and Daryl isn’t willing to sell his soul. It makes me love him so much more than ever before. 

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Walker Wednesday

Walker Wednesday

 

The Walking Dead, Season 7, episode 2

October 30, 2016

After the season premiere, this past week’s episode was tame and a bit boring if I’m being honest. Now, that doesn’t mean I don’t have some thoughts about this turn of events, or that I didn’t welcome a break from my high blood pressure.

The episode starts with Carol recovering from her near-death experience at the hands of some of Negan’s men (The Saviors). Morgan is with her, and they find themselves in a new settlement, known as The Kingdom. Enter KING Ezekiel. Yeah, that’s right, the leader of this group goes by king and talks like he’s staring in a Medieval Times dinner theater show, not smack dab in the middle of the zombie apocalypse. Even crazier? He has a pet tiger.

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My first thoughts after listening to this guy talk:

1) He’s totally insane (which makes everyone following him just as insane)

2) This group is NOT going to be helpful when it comes to defeating Negan

BUT a few details popped up during the episode that I did take notice of. First, Morgan goes with a few of the men to catch pigs and HALF of the animals are herded into a barn where a zombie is tied up and waiting. When he asks about it, Morgan is told by one of King Ezekiel’s men that they want the pig’s bellies full of rot. This is the first clue that this group is under Negan’s thumb. They also say they are only PARTLY free, so it’s no surprise when they meet a group of Saviors to make a delivery. Then Carol and King Ezekiel have a little heart to heart and we find out he isn’t quite as insane as he originally let on. That doesn’t mean I am in any way ready to put my trust in this group. To me—and it seemed like Carol has the same opinion—this group is a little too similar to how Alexandria was when Rick’s group first stumbled upon them. They’re unprepared since King Ezekiel has taken it upon himself to keep his dealings with Negan a secret. They aren’t prepared for a fight and they are totally unaware of how bad things can get. Maybe a handful of King Ezekiel’s most trusted subjects would be helpful, but the majority of this group will be totally useless when the shit hits the fan.

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Even though I love Carol’s innocent and oblivious act, I wish she’d get back to badass ways, and I’m happy to see that Morgan has gotten over his annoying anti-killing attitude. I was happy for his character to return to the show last season, but I got real tired of him real fast when he wasn’t willing to do what needed to be done.

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Other than that, there wasn’t a whole lot about this episode worth mentioning. Next week promises to be pretty intense, giving us a look at what Daryl is going through at the hands of Negan’s men, namely Dwight. 

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Hopefully there will be more to talk about.

~Kate

Walker Wednesday

I’m going to start a new thing:

Walker Wednesday!!

Every Wednesday I’ll post my thoughts and feelings about the previous episode of The Walking Dead, starting with this past Sunday’s episode, the long-awaited premiere of season 7. This isn’t necessarily a review of the show, but instead just my thoughts and feelings about what happened, and where I think the group will go. 

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***Beware of spoilers***

 

The Walking Dead, Season 7, Episode 1

October 23, 2016

 

We’ve been waiting months for the season 7 premiere, and it’s finally come and gone. Wow. The episode nearly broke the Internet, and possibly a lot of people’s brains. It was rough. We knew it was going to be, we had months to prepare, but it seems like a lot of people just couldn’t prepare themselves for what happened.

Season 6 ended with most of Rick’s group (Rick, Carl, Daryl, Glenn, Maggie, Abraham, Eugene, Rosita, Sasha, Aaron, & Michonne) lined up in front of Negan, who was about to put them in their place by brutally beating one of them to death with his bat, Lucille.

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All summer long we were warned that this was going to be intense. The Walking Dead is known for its gore and special effects, and these are all characters we’ve come to love, so no matter who got chosen, we knew it was going to be rough. Sometime during the months between the end of season 6 and the beginning of season 7, I heard rumors that two people would be killed, so again I was prepared. I also knew that in the comics Glenn was the one chosen by Negan. But the show doesn’t always follow the comics, and I felt pretty certain that Abraham would be chosen this time around. He’d just traded Rosita for Sasha, and had finally reached a point where he felt like he could start over, so it made sense with how the arc of the show usually goes. In the back of my head, although I didn’t want to admit it, I also had a good feeling Glenn would be the second one. I hoped it wouldn’t be true, of course, but we all know that no one is safe on this show. Maybe Rick, but even his death wouldn’t surprise me.

No matter how prepared I was for the premiere, it was still rough. Just like I thought, Abraham was chosen by Negan, and his death was both horrifyingly brutal and devastating for the group. It was nothing compared to Glenn’s end, though. That part of the show will be forever tattooed on my mind. It was unforgettable and heartbreaking, and the fact that Maggie, who is pregnant with his baby, was right there watching the whole thing made me physically sick. Even now, two days later, I can’t think about it without feeling nauseated. Glenn’s last thoughts, his last words, were of Maggie. Letting her know how much he loved her. Saying his goodbyes despite the agony he must have been in. It was gut wrenching.

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To say the premiere was gory is an understatement. Watching someone get their head smashed in with a bat will leave an impression on you, and the amazing special effects that The Walking Dead is known for weren’t missing in this case. It was made worse by the fact that the entire group had to watch, and you could see the shock and anguish on everyone’s faces, but the thing that tipped it over the edge was the utter glee expressed by Negan. I’ve read some of the comics, but not all of them because I don’t want to get too far ahead of where we are in the show, so I haven’t reached the part with Negan in it yet, but I’ve heard that he makes the governor look warm and cuddly. He is, by all definitions, a sociopath. No one can do the things he did on the premiere and not be disturbed, and despite the fact that I loathe this character so much, Jeffery Dean Morgan is brilliant casting. He’s charming, which is a common characteristic of sociopaths (Don’t believe me? Google Ted Bundy and read a little bit about his early life, he was known as a charming man.), and even though there are people out there who will try to deny it, I have literally no doubt in my mind that men like Negan would thrive in an apocalyptic scenario.

But the deaths of Abraham and Glenn weren’t the end. Rick was dragged into the RV by an axe wielding Negan, and I thought for sure (about a dozen times during the premiere) that he was about to lose his hand. If you’ve read the comics, you know that Rick loses his hand to the Governor. I’ve been waiting for it to happen on the show and I was sooo sure this was it! He doesn’t, but then Negan puts him in an almost Biblical situation: Cut your son (Carl’s) arm off or everyone dies. There’s Rick, literally sobbing, while his son is on the ground in front of him and everyone else in his group has a gun to the back of their heads. It’s an impossible but obvious choice: he has to do it. He knows it. Carl knows it. Carl tells him to do it. Negan is counting. It’s so intense and all I can think is: Rick will never recover. He will be broken forever if this happens. Thankfully, Negan stops him, thinking he has broken Rick enough. He’s wrong, of course. He’s reined Rick in for the time being, but he isn’t totally broken. Not yet. I honestly think, though, that if Negan had forced Rick to go through with it, it would have been the end for the group (or at least the end of him as a leader). He wouldn’t have been able to recover. He almost lost his mind after Lori died and he didn’t have the constant reminder of his failure right in front of him. With Carl, though, he would have been there every day, and every time Rick looked at his son, he would have seen his failure in Carl’s missing arm. It would have eaten away at him, ground him down until he was nothing inside but dust and ashes. He would have been lost for good.

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So where are we now? What do I see playing out for this season? Well, Negan took Daryl, which means he’s in real danger. Even worse, Daryl was unintentionally to blame for Glenn’s death. The group was told not to move, but Daryl jumped up and punched Negan, and Glenn paid the ultimate price. Daryl will blame himself forever. He is a deeply emotional character who internalizes everything (Remember how he was after Sophia walked out of that barn?), and even though he’s come a long way, I think this may be a real setback for him. He’s a fighter, so he’ll do what it takes to survive, but I’m afraid the guilt he’s going to carry with him may be irreversible. On top of that, the group is stuck. They can’t run because it would mean leaving Daryl behind, and they now know the consequences of crossing Negan. They work for him, he owns them, and at this point, they’re all too wounded to really do anything about it. Our only hope may be the new group that Morgan and Carol find themselves with. Again, I haven’t read that far in the comics, but these people could be a real ally against Negan. Even more, they could be the only hope Rick and his group has.

My final thought about the premiere of The Walking Dead is this: Andrew Lincoln is a phenomenal actor. Amazing. That man makes me believe this show is real. He literally broke right in front of our eyes. You could see him fall to pieces. Could see his anger and rage crack and shrivel away, leaving only pieces of the man behind. I believed every second of his performance. I felt it. He made me hurt. Seriously, everyone involved in this show is awesome, but Andrew Lincoln is mind-blowing. Watching the evolution of his character over the years, I already knew he was great at what he does, but seeing the range he has squeezed into one hour of television cemented that in my mind. This show would not be what it is without him.

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***Final words***

I’ve seen a lot of posts about the show, and some people are saying they are done with it. Not because of who died, but because the gore has reached a point where they just can’t stomach it anymore. Then there’s the other camp who is calling them names and saying they’re babies for being upset, which I personally feel is ridiculous. People are entitled to feel how they feel. End of story.
Even though I’m not ready to give up on the show (I love it too much) I get how people are feeling when it comes to the violence Negan inflicted on the group. This episode was really hard to watch. I’m on the fence about the gore and violence personally. I totally understand why people feel sick, because that’s how I felt years ago when I watched the movie Hostel. I still can’t think about it without feeling physically ill. Others are shouting things like “it’s a zombie show, it’s always been bloody” and “you’ve seen zombies rip people’s throats out, but this is where you draw the line?” There’s a difference, at least to me. The zombie violence is fake. Zombies aren’t real, and it’s easier to stomach because we know they don’t exist and even if they did, they would be mindless creatures who aren’t taking joy in what they’re doing. With Negan, it’s a whole different story. Yes, we’ve come across cannibals, but I didn’t see Bob get his leg sawed off. He woke up and it was gone. Yes, the group at Terminus was hard to stomach, but it was over quickly and less bloody, whereas we all know Negan is just getting started. For me, it isn’t so much the blood as it is the joy behind the pain he’s inflicting. People like this are real. There are people who take real delight in hurting others, and that’s where the line gets fuzzy.
The truth is, the fact that people as vicious as Negan are real is something we like to keep in the back of our minds. We know it’s true, serial killers and sociopaths do exist, but we don’t want to dwell on it. I know I don’t, and I know this episode did push me toward the line that I felt Hostel crossed. To me, the premiere of TWD wasn’t any less brutal in it’s plausibility as Hostel was, so I’m not sure why it didn’t push me over that line, but it probably has something to do with how much I love the story and characters in TWD. But I do understand if other people might be done with the show. The prospect of more bloody nights like this one may not sit well with everyone, and that is their right.
There was also some discussion on Facebook about how people feel the show has lost all hope with the current storyline, and this is something my husband and I discussed after the premiere, and something he repeated against last night. Where can the story go from here? How can it end? It’s not like the group is going to stumble across a walled city that’s totally safe. They’ve done that, and guess what? It wasn’t safe, because there is no safe place left in this world. The only possible way this series can end is with the death of everyone we love, and I think that’s another thing that has turned a lot of people off. I get it, people have a right to bow out if they feel they need to. I’m still a devoted fan and I will be until every single person (even Daryl) is dead and buried, but those of us who are sticking with it have no right to criticize the people who are unable to stomach the blood and hopelessness anymore.

~Kate 

All clips courtesy of Giphy.

Zombie Blog Crawl 2!!

GIVEAWAY CLOSED

Winner: Morgan Anderson

Happy Halloween and Happy 5th Birthday to my littlest zombie!

AND

Welcome to Zombie Blog Crawl 2015!!!

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This is the second year Band of Dystopian has put together a Zombie Blog Crawl for Halloween, and the second year I’ve participated. You can see my post from 2014 HERE. After you look through this post, be sure to scroll down and check out the links to all the other blogs participating in the Zombie Crawl, and enter the giveaways! (Be sure to check out my giveaway at the end of this post.)

This year I was lucky enough to get a short break from life by taking my second ever Momcation with my best friend Erin. Lucky for me, she just moved to Peachtree City, GA, which isn’t too far from where they film The Walking Dead. Pretty cool, right? While visiting Erin I was able to visit Senoia, GA (AKA Woodbury), take a tour with Atlanta Movie Tours, and do a drive-by of a couple other filming sights not included in the tour. Ready to see some pictures?? I’m more than ready to show off all the amazing sights and share a little insight I gained about the filming industry in the Atlanta area.

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Did you know they film a ton of movies in and around Atlanta?? They do! It isn’t just The Walking Dead. My first day there, Erin and I headed into downtown Senoia (Which also happens to be downtown Woodbury).

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The town itself is cute and welcoming, and a great place to spend some time if you’re visiting the area, but it also happens to be the filming sight of dozens of movies and television shows. Little plaques have been placed in the sidewalks with the name and dates of each production filmed in the area. Remember this tear-jerker from the 90’s?

Downtown Senoia is also the home of The Official Walking Dead Store
and The Walking Dead Cafe!

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There’s even a little museum downstair that has some pretty awesome props from the show!

You might recognize these doors from the very first episode of The Walking Dead: Days Gone Bye

Remember when the Governor captured Andrea in Season three?
Here’s the chair she was tied to:

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The motorcycle Daryl Dixon rode during the first few seasons:

A zombie on loan from Executive Producer Greg Nicotero:

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Plus one of the jail cells from the prison, complete with Daryl cardboard cutout:
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As you walk through the museum, you’ll also find signatures from a lot of the cast and crew on the walls. I only took pictures of a few, but here are the notes “Carol” and “Maggie” left for visitors:

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Senoia, GA
AKA Woodbury

The downtown of Senoia is only a little bit more cheery than it was the first day Michonne and Andrea were brought in by Merle. The town’s main street is also main street Woodbury, which is pretty amazing to walk down. The woman working in the fudge shop told me the front windows of all businesses were covered during filming, and customers used back entrances to gain access to the stores. If you rewatch episodes shot in “Woodbury” you’ll notice it this time around. 
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Back when Woodbury existed, both ends of this street were blocked off, but now all you have to do is walk to the end of the road and the walled city of Alexandria, VA looms in front of you.

I made the trip to Senoia twice while on vacation, but unfortunately they weren’t filming in Alexandria on either occasion. :-(

Visitors are allowed to take pictures and walk by the set, but there is always a security guard on duty (That’s who’s in the white SUV pictured below). When we took the tour, our guide told us they’ve shot down several drones that people have tried to fly over the set, and they’ve even had to shoot a couple people who tried to climb the walls with tasers. One woman tried to get her young child to gain access to the set by having him/her crawl through the drainpipe. Security was waiting on the other end and the woman was immediately arrested.
They take the privacy of the set and filming very seriously, and you should too.

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We did walk down the street and take a few pictures, but the security guard wasn’t messing around, and even though I didn’t step off the street I was told one time that I was too close and I needed to back up. 

Below are a few different shots of the walls. These are REAL houses! We were told during our tour that  a few people actually live on the set (they have to show ID to get home and sign any guests in). Some of these houses were already built when filming started, but others (the brownstones, which are common in a suburb of DC) were built exclusively for the show.

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Here I am in front of the set!
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This is a burned building just inside the walls of Alexandria, which we just saw in last week’s devastating episode. When I was there (in late August) our tour guide pointed the building out and told us it used to be a church and just a few weeks before it had been burned down. We now know why…
Excuse me while I dry my eyes.

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Just around the corner from Alexandria are two filming sites you might recognize.

First up is the house Rick and Carl hid in after leaving the prison (Season 4, episodes 9 & 11). You might remember it as the “Claimed” house because it’s where Rick first encountered Joe and his men – don’t worry, they get what they deserve.

The second is the infamous pudding house. Yes, Carl (Chandler Riggs) sat on the roof of this very house and ate pudding until he wanted to throw up. If you’re interested, they sell giant cans of pudding at The Walking Dead Cafe in downtown Senoia. If I hadn’t been flying, I would have bought one to take home to my kids. Maybe next time.
(This picture I had to snap through the tour bus window. More on that later.)

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There’s plenty to see in Senoia, but a lot of the locations are things like “This is the alley where Andrea and Milton conspired against the governor,” or “They shot a scene of the group walking down these train tracks.”
Still, it’s pretty cool being in a town that so readily embraces zombie enthusiasts.
(You can even buy a zombie charm at the local jewelry store.)

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If you’re thinking about taking a trip to Senoia, be sure to have lunch in Katie Lou’s Cafe. We did twice, and the brisket sandwich was great.
Plus they serve wine all day long. #win

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Newnan, GA

My second day in Georgia we headed to Newnan to do a little shopping and grab some lunch. I swung by Let Them Eat Toffee for a delicious vacation treat, and we ate at Fabiano’s Pizzeria. It’s a funky and fun place, and the attached theater had a sign up saying that they were going to host a Walking Dead premiere event. If my husband and I lived in the area, we would have been there for sure.
And yes, Fabiano’s had wine. I ordered a glass of the Sassy Bitch Cabernet.

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It wasn’t until we got home later that night and sat down with another glass of wine (we like wine) to watch Zombieland that we realized where we had just been. A pretty awesome scene from this movie was filmed right where we had walked only a few hours earlier. Here’s a clip from Zombieland that shows downtown Newnan, GA (the apocalypse version anyway). 

Before leaving Newnan we took a quick detour so I could check out the hospital Beth was held in. Now closed, the hospital sits pretty much in the middle of nowhere and the gate only prevents people from driving up to it. You can get pretty close by walking through the grass, and if Erin’s two kids hadn’t been asleep in the van, I would have spent some time walking around the empty building so I could take a few more pictures.

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Erin was also nice enough to drive me to this neighborhood in Peachtree City so I could check out Noah’s house! This is where the group headed after Beth’s death, and where Tyrese ends up getting bitten.

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Other Filming Locations

In Grantville, GA you can find the Cafe Michonne and Carl went to in the season three episode “Clear.” If you remember correctly, you’ll recall that Carl came here looking for a picture of Lori so Judith would know what her mom looked like.
Too bad there wasn’t a picture of Shane too…

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Sharps burg, GA gives us the bar Hershel ran to so he could get drunk after the infamous barn incident. (Once again the picture is taken through the window of the tour bus, so it’s a little out of focus.)
And just across the street is the pharmacy Glenn (sob) and Maggie first got busy in…

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We also had the chance to drive by the motel Merle dragged Michonne to after he decided to turn her into the Governor. (There happened to be a splatter of blood left behind on the wall.)

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You might have noticed that a few of these locations were not part of the tour, but places we just decided to drive by on our own. So how did I find them?
Easy. I bought this handy book in The Walking Dead Store:

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Just to prepare you, this book wasn’t cheap ($30) but it lists most filming locations. (Some private residences, like Hershel’s farm, are not included because the families have not given their permission.) Owning this book enables fans to drive by these locations instead of paying for a guided tour, which is a great alternative for anyone on a budget. The tour was fun, but it also wasn’t cheap ($65 a person, including kids), and most of it was spent driving by the filming locations. So why pay for the tour? Going with the Atlanta Movie Tours allowed us to go INSIDE three buildings the average person can’t access. Which was really cool.

#1

The Zombie Arena

Featured in several episodes, you’ll recognize the Governor’s work right away. Merle and Daryl were almost forced to fight to the death here, and as part of the tour you get an exclusive look at the inside.

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Here’s a picture of my best friend, Erin, and me in the arena. She isn’t a Walking Dead fan (we’re working through this situation), but she tagged along because she knows how much I love the show.
(BTW: the crates behind us were the ones that held the zombies in between fights.)

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You also get a couple group pictures emailed to you after the tour:
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#2

Morgan’s Apartment

Remember when Rick found Morgan and he had gone totally crazy? (A different kind of crazy than he is now.) Yup, we got to go inside his apartment.

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#3

The Barn where Rick and the Governor Met

Then there was that time Andrea thought the Governor could be rational. All he and Rick had to do was sit down and have a little chat and everything would turn out okay… (That was before the Governor tied Andrea to a chair and let Milton eat her.) We got to go inside the barn….

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While here, though, all I could think about was this bad lip-reading video.
It always makes me laugh.

Below is a picture of our tour guide inside the barn. He’s been an extra on The Walking Dead a lot, and he had a good amount of info to share, especially about the filming in Woodbury and the prison. (And he gave some hints about how to become an extra.) Our guide was an extra as a part of the Governor’s army when they attacked the prison. (If you watch the episode where they’re handing out weapons, he’s wearing a hat.) This is another bonus you get from going with Atlanta Movie Tours: all the tour guides have been extras on the show. 

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Right across the street from the barn are a few other places you’ll recognize.

This old feed mill is featured in the opening credits the first few seasons…

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While Rick and the Governor were inside the barn “negotiating,” Daryl and Martinez had a pissing contest here….
In case you’re wondering, Daryl won.

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And here’s where Merle tried to ambush the Governor’s men,
and where Daryl found him after he’d turned. #tear

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So, which was better? Driving around by ourselves or taking the guided tour? 
I’m glad I got to go on the tour once, but next time I think we’ll just use our little book and find places on our own. While $65 wasn’t bad when it was just Erin and me, I have four kids…that can get pretty pricey. And they all like The Walking Dead, so leaving them behind isn’t an option. (They were actually pretty mad that I went without them this time.) We hope to go back to Peachtree City as a family next spring, and when we do we’ll definitely be using my handy Locations book to check out even more filming locations!


And that was the zombie portion of Momcation 2015! If you’re a fan of my contemporary romance novels and you want to check out the Charleston portion of my trip, you can find that post HERE.


GIVEAWAY ALERT

***Don’t forget to enter my giveaway! Not only can you win a DVD of Zombieland and the first season of The Walking Dead, but you’ll also get book one in my Amazon best-selling zombie series, Broken World. (Signed by me, of course.) In addition to that, you get: a Broken World mug, pen and magnet, and a very special pair of Glenn Rhee socks to keep your feet toasty through the long winter ahead.*** 

zombiegiveaway

I know what you’re thinking: How do I enter!?

You can like my Facebook author page, or follow me on Twitter and Instagram, but that isn’t necessary to enter or win the prize. This giveaway is open to residents of the US & Canada, and all you have to do is click on THIS link and fill out the form. I’ll choose the winner on November 2nd and shoot you an email (I’ll also announce it on my FB page)! 


Before you leave, be sure to check out all the other posts included in the Zombie Crawl and enter all the other great giveaways!

 z crawl schedule

Zombie Crawl 2 – Blog Party

October 22 – 31, 2015

by Band of Dystopian Authors & Fans

How it works: Each day, the scheduled authors and bloggers will post awesome zombie-tastic content for your enjoyment along with a giveaway on their site/blog/page. You can hop around to all of the participating sites and enter as many giveaways as you like! If you would like to be emailed links to the new posts each day, join this Zombie Crawl Daily Digest list which will ensure you don’t miss a post (or join the party on Facebook to get notifications). Make sure to leave comments and interact with the participating sites. Thanks for joining the party!

The Schedule:

OCTOBER 22 – Thursday

Band of Dystopian Authors & Fans (Party & Grand Prize Host)

Jo Michaels Blog (author)

Rissa Blakeley (author)

OCTOBER 23 – Friday

Claire C. Riley (author)

2 Girls & A Book (blog)

Emily Shore (author)

OCTOBER 24 – Saturday

Kathy Dinisi (author)

Us Girls & A Book (blog)

The Voluptuous Book Diva (blog 18+)

OCTOBER 25 – Sunday

Casey L. Bond (author)

THE KATY blog (blog)

OCTOBER 26 – Monday

Saul Tanpepper (author)

Warren Fielding (author)

The Leighgendarium (blog)

OCTOBER 27 – Tuesday

Kody Boye (author)

Rhiannon Frater (author)

ER Arroyo (author)

OCTOBER 28 – Wednesday

Allen Gamboa (author)

Armand Rosamilia (author)

Ethan @ One Guy’s Guide to Good Reads (blog)

OCTOBER 29 – Thursday

Kate L. Mary (author)

aftershockzombieseries (author)

Eli Constant (author)

OCTOBER 30 – Friday

Aria Michaels (author)

Brian Parker (author)

Mama Reads Hazel Sleeps (blog)

OCTOBER 31 – Saturday

Cindy Carroll (author)

M. R. Pritchard (author)

Toni L.H. Boughton (author)

Digital Dirty Girl (blog)

To learn more about Band of Dystopian and/or to enter our Grand Prize Giveaway, visit BandofDystopian.com and don’t forget to join the group on Facebook!

Broken World and The Walking Dead

I’ve had several reviewers point out the similarities between Broken World and The Walking Dead, and I finally decided to say something about it.

Before I published Broken World, I was pretty sure reviewers were going to rip me apart over the similarities. I’ll be honest though, I didn’t expect it to do as well as it has. Not because I don’t think it’s good, because I do. I love it. But because I’d spent months reading agents and editors flat-out say that there’s no market for zombie novels. Um…really? I disagreed before, and I do even more now. Why? Because people like me who love zombies, loved them before TWD came around and will continue to love them after the show ends. And now especially there’s a big market for zombie fiction. TWD is huge. Anyone who picks up a zombie book these days is most definitely going to be a fan of the show, so I would be an idiot to say I wasn’t inspired by TWD. I’ve gotten lucky though, and most readers love Broken World because of the similarities. Which is totally awesome! However, after reading some of the comparisons reviewers have made, I wanted to reveal exactly what my motivation was behind writing it, and exactly where I was inspired.

The biggest thing people have pointed out is the Daryl/Merle and Axl/Angus similarities. So here’s the big question: are Axl and Angus supposed to be Daryl and Merle? No. They are Axl and Angus. Are they inspired by the brothers? Absolutely. I’ve never denied it. Why? Because I’d be a moron to try and convince anyone they weren’t. So why did I do it? It’s simple: I’m a huge fan of the show, and a huge fan of Robert Kirkman. Plus, Daryl is an amazing character, and so was his brother. I love characters with lots of baggage! There’s so much room for growth and change, as we saw with Daryl, and I was so excited by the idea of throwing Merle into the bunch and seeing what would happen. How Daryl would stand up under pressure. How Merle would fit into this group. It had so much potential that was never explored because of Merle’s untimely death. Of course, by the time Merle died I had already written two books. When I wrote them, Merle and Daryl had never been in a single episode together (with the exception of the one episode where Daryl hallucinates). I finished the third book shortly after season three ended, but it was outlined well before that. So yes, the brothers in my book are inspired by the brothers in TWD, but a lot of the similarities are coincidence, because I had already written the books before I ever saw the two of them interact.

Now, what about the Emily/Sophia thing? I’ll be totally honest, when I wrote Emily I didn’t have a single thought about TWD. I started writing Broken World with totally different intentions. Different plot, different character interactions. No zombies. But by the end of the first chapter I had changed my mind. I wanted to write a zombie novel, so I decided to. I came up with Emily’s character because I needed a reason to get Vivian across country that was different and stood out, and would show a soft side that contrasted with the fake exterior she had created for herself. I wanted to make her sympathetic and human. A few people have said she was a bad mom, and if that’s your opinion then that’s fine. I’m okay with it. Like I said, I like flaws in my characters. I didn’t write her to be a bad mom, I wrote her to be a human being who makes mistakes. Sometimes those mistakes have horrible consequences. Another person said that Emily was killed off because she was “an inconvenience to the romance plot.” Quite frankly, that’s bullshit. Axl and Vivian bonded even more over Emily, and if she had lived it would have been the same. I didn’t intend to kill Emily off. She was going to live. The problem came when I was about halfway through the first book and started outlining the second and third books. I had Vivian running off all the time to get supplies, and it made no sense for her to do that if she had a child. If people thought she was a bad mom before, they would have hated her then! In order to keep the story going—which is told from Vivian’s perspective—I had kill Emily off. I wasn’t thinking about Sophia at all when I did it. Can I see the similarity? Yup.

One reviewer compared Winston and Tyreese, which is also a coincidence (and kind of racist). They’re two black guys, but that’s about all they have in common. When I wrote Broken World, Tyreese wasn’t even in the show, so I had no idea who he was. I didn’t start reading the comics until this last year, either. To be honest, I kind of dislike Tyreese (especially in the show). Winston is my voice of reason in the group. If he’s like anyone, he’s Dale or Hershel (show, not comic), although I didn’t mirror his character after anyone in TWD. Sorry, but that’s a total coincidence.

Glen and Al? Nope, sorry again. A reviewer compared the two characters because they are both Asian and slightly geeky. I never found Glen to be geeky. Insecure and quiet, a follower. Yeah. Geeky…I’m not sure what about his personality seemed geeky to the reviewer, but I didn’t get it. Al was a kid I threw in because I wanted a geeky zombie enthusiast in there, and I made him Asian because I like diversity in my stories. The end.

This one really made me roll my eyes: Joshua and Hershel. Really? Hershel is a vet and a farmer in his sixties. Joshua is a twenty-seven-year-old doctor who’s six feet seven inches tall. They’re similar because they both have medical training, I guess? Nope. Joshua is there because I wanted a doctor in my group. It will help them get further and survive longer realistically. There’s nothing worse than reading a book and having people with no medical knowledge perform surgery. Successfully.

Vivian apparently is a mix between Lori, Carol and Andrea? That’s just weird. I can grab any three characters, smash them together and pull one bit from their personalities to compare them to a fourth. It doesn’t mean anything. Vivian is nothing like Lori. For real? Ugh. No way! And Andrea…nope. Never really cared for Andrea all that much, and they have almost nothing in common other than blonde hair (and neither one can cook, which is really grasping at straws). Carol…I won’t deny similarities, but they have nothing to do with Emily. More the abusive/damaged background than anything else. But again, I just really love those damaged characters!

As you read further in the books, you may find a thing here or there that actually DID happen in an episode of TWD. They are intentional! There are a lot of zombie stories out there where the characters have never seen a zombie movie and have no clue what’s going on. Not mine. They’ve all seen zombie stuff, Al is a big fan even. So, it just made since for someone to say, “Hey! I saw this in a zombie movie I love, let’s see if it works!” Not all the stuff I’m going to use will be from TWD, though. Some may be taken from other zombie books I’ve read. But I am going to use the resources out there, because when the zombie apocalypse happens for real, you know we’ll all be pulling out the DVDs of TWD and watching it for tips on how to survive!

So, if you’re reading one of the books in the Broken World series and something reminds you of TWD, just ask me! I’ll be honest. You can send me an email or comment on my Facebook Page, or ask a question on my Goodreads Page. You can even comment on this post, I always respond to the people who leave comments. (Except spammers. You make me sad.) I’ve gotten a couple awesome emails and comments from readers, and I’m going to be honest, they make my day! I really love these book and loved writing them, and I’m thrilled that they’re doing so well!

Thanks everyone for your support!

~Kate L. Mary~