Dog Pound follows the story of three unrelated juvenile delinquents that all enter the Enola Vale Youth Correctional Center at the same time. Angel (Mateo Morales) is a particularly young looking boy who gave armed assault and grand theft auto a try. Davis (Shane “Spinner” Kippel of Degrassi: The Next Generation) thought possession with intent to sell might be fun. Butch (Adam Butcher) is already in a correctional facility when we meet him. Obviously, he longs for more discipline… and earns a trip to Enola Vale by pushing his thumbs into a CO’s eyes, 28 Days Later style. These three new fish attempt to make the best of their new surroundings, and might even have a chance, if they can stay on their CO’s good side, while simultaneously avoiding the attention of Enola Vale’s resident King-Shit, Banks (Taylor Poulin).
Melanie and I have been rewatching AMC’s The Walking Dead, and we’re now halfway done.
Read what we thought of the show’s second episode, “Tell It to the Frogs.” It’s a doozie. As always, spoilers lie within. If you can’t handle that, stay out.
I’m pretty confident that this will go down as being the best episode of the series. It has everything, everything, I look for in a post-zombie-apocalyptic setting. A racially diverse group of people barely getting along. Great characters. A severed head opening its eyes and gurgling.
The acting in this episode is outstanding. Particularly by the prinicples. Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Shane (Jon Bernthal), and Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) knock it out of the park. Dale and Glenn also shine on the sidelines. The performance of the hour, however, goes to Michael Rooker. As Merle, Rooker opens the show with a rant so wild, crazy and desperate, you would almost believe he had been locked and handcuffed on a rooftop with the ominous moans and clamouring of zombies nearby.
This whole episode is fantastic. Even the lulls are interesting. There’s so much going on just in the eyes of the actors. Mel and I are in agreement about the greatness of this episode, so instead of dividing what we agreed on versus disagreed, I’ll be pointing out our favourite parts.
My Favourite Parts:
Aside from the opening sequence, where Merle goes from incoherent mumblings, to shock, to bargaining with God, to finally a self-reliant rage against God, there are several other quality moments to this particular episode.
Another favourite moment, or moments really, is the growing bond between Shane and Carl. It’s something that wasn’t really explored in the early issues of the comic book. And should the show ever take the same path… it will work so much better. Shane’s such an interesting character on the show at this point. He’s just trying to build the family he wasn’t ever able to have in the old world. He’s making the right decisions. Seriously, Comic Book Shane is a fuck-up, constantly making the wrong survival choices, and letting jealousy cloud his judgement. TV Shane makes responsible choices, and even when he loses his cool near episode’s end… he’s still doing the right thing. In the world they’re living in, Ed needed to be beaten to within an inch of his life. He wasn’t going to understand any other language.
|I felt like destroying something that was an asshole, beautiful.|
Finally, we have Lori. I think this episode is as interesting as her character is going to get. She’s a major part of the greatness of the reunion. We see pretty much every high and low emotion one can have on her face in the span of a few seconds. Throughout her interactions with Rick, we can see how much she wants to tell him about her mistake. Then we see her fly into Shane, over his lie about Rick being dead. At this point, we can’t tell if Shane was right to lie or not, but we do get to see in his eyes just how hurt he is, now that he’s basically lost that family that he always wanted.
Mel’s Favourite Part:
The opening with Merle was quality. Mel said, “[he] was a fucker and I was glad to see him left up on the roof… but still, watching him writhe around and beg Jesus to show him the way was uncomfortable…” In other words… fucking awesome. But that’s still only second place to her high point of the show: the ending.
The entire sequence cutting back and forth–from the stairwell and rooftop, to the banks of the quarry with Shane showing Ed what being an asshole will get you in the new world order–is fantastic. The music is perfect, even if it is a soundalike of John Murphy’s song used during Cillian Murphy’s (or Nick Cage’s) rampage from 28 Days Later (or Kick-Ass). The show peaks at the very end, though, as we slow pan through first the hacksaw, then the severed hand, and then the still clasped handcuffs hanging every so ominously from that random piece of re-bar as Daryl lets out a pained squeal.
In a word:
This particular episode was directed by Gweneth Horder-Payton, who along with some other movies and series, worked as 1st Assistant Director on 36 episodes of The Shield, and directed 5 of them. One of them being “Of Mice and Lem”, the second last episode of Season 5*. I can’t praise the work done there enough, and it clearly continues on here. She obviously knows how to squeeze even more talent out of an already talented cast.
|Holy Shit. That was fucktastic.|
*If you’ve seen The Shield you know why everything leading up to the end of Season 5 is amazing. If you haven’t… go buy the DVDs. Now..
Mel and I just finished watching the pilot episode of AMC’s The Walking Dead. You might remember it from last fall, when it was one of the most successful and talked about new shows of the season. I think it was her 3rd viewing, and my 5th. It was also her first viewing since reading the trades. I’ve read all 14 that have been released, but Mel’s dragged her feet on reading volume 14. We’re working our way through the series again in preparation and excitement for the start of Season 2, on Oct. 16.
Read what we thought of the show’s first episode, “Days Gone Bye”, after the jump…
Fair warning: This shit is going to get spoilery. If you haven’t watched the whole first season, or read at least the first trade of the comic books, you may not want to read any further. And did I just use the term “after the jump”? Ugh… Someone slap me. Don’t ever let me do that again.
Things We Agree On:
This show opens with a bang. Right from the get-go, the series is telling you, “Look, folks… this shit is serious, and we’re not fucking around. If you think you’re getting funny zombies, go watch Dead-Alive again.” One of my major concerns when I heard they were adapting TWD for TV was whether or not they’d have the balls to do what needs to be done. I’m pretty sure shooting a little girl in the head answers that question pretty fucking quick.
|This ain’t Sesame Street.|
From there we jump into the opening credits. Mel is always particularly impressed by them. They do a great job of setting the tone. I agree. It feels very eerie. True Blood and Gane of Thrones might be the only better credit reels going these days.
Once the credits wrap we come to our first gripe of the season… The conversation between Shane and Rick in their squad car takes too fucking long. At least it does the first time you watch it. After seeing the whole series play out (and reading the comics) this scene becomes much more interesting than the first time you watch it. It lays a groundwork for the characters that is much needed. It also shows several ways that this story is going to be different from the comic. The only problem is it does it too slowly. Shane’s asshole diatribe isn’t quite interesting enough, and the scene really slows the pacing of the show down to a new viewer. The same pacing problem appears in other spots throughout the episode, but never quite as bad, and once it really picks up again after Rick and Morgan leave the police station it never really lets up.
|On the road again…
Just can’t wait to get back on the road again…
Speaking of after the police station… I’m pretty sure there are several critics of directors like Zack Snyder that would love to show them the scene where Rick heads back to the zombie he found near the bicycle, or the hospital sequence. They are fantastic examples of how you can use a comic as a storyboard, and let your audience see each comic frame, without using bullet time effects, or otherwise stopping time. (The Zombiephiles has a neat article showing some side by side character comparisons.) Of course, the visual effects, zombie make up and acting are all fantastic. You can clearly see that everyone involved in this show really cares about making it as great as they can.
Another great aspect is how this episode somehow manages to simultaneously stick to the storyline of the source material, but play with it slightly to create some surprises even for the people who have read the comics. Every change made in this episode, particularly Rick and Lori’s rocky marriage and Shane and Lori clearly having more than just a grief-stricken one night stand, are all great, and really add to the tensions that should be coming later on.
Things We Didn’t Agree On:
Mel thought that, for the amount of time Morgan spent saying how attracted to sound the zombies are, and how much he beats himself up for firing his gun in the street, neither He nor Rick really seem to give that much of a shit about it. They both seem to take any and every opportunity to fire off a round into everything they can. This really bothered her, given that she not that long ago read Abraham’s (a character that comes much later in the comics) tirade on stationary camps and gunfire. It didn’t bother me that much… I guess I don’t mind it because early Rick is a dumbfuck when it comes to zombie common sense. And as far as Morgan goes, I kinda thought that TVs Morgan has given up by the time he starts his sniping spree.
Mel also really enjoyed re-watching the end of the episode. She said that even though she knew how it was going to turn out, it was still really tense. I don’t really feel the tension of the scene anymore… but I do still think Rick putting the gun to his head and noticing the hole in the tank is awesome. One of the best moments in the show, really. That whole scene is one of those new additions that really work for both the fans of the comics and the newcomers, I think.
I remember a lot of people who didn’t know any better shouting “Ripoff” when the show was first airing, over the fact that Rick wakes up alone in the hospital. Supposedly the scenes were written independently around the same time, like some kind of crazy zombie Calculus. I say, “Who gives a fuck?”. The idea of it goes back much further than 28DL. The Quiet Earth has an world ending scene involving a guy waking up to a deserted world too. Not to mention all the various forms “The Last Man on Earth” has taken on screen. Seeing a Ripoff Card played so quickly, and so poorly researched, drives me up the fucking wall.
Even after 5 viewings, this episode of the show is still strong enough to make both Mel and I excited to watch more of it. Great acting, great effects, great story and some of the best direction ever on the small screen. The Walking Dead‘s first episode is definitely some of the best stuff ever shown on television.
|I’d give it two thumbs up,
but the other one rotted off.