Not Much to See Here: Thoughts on “The Walking Dead” Season 6, Episode 15: “East”

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Episode 15 of season 6 of “The Walking Dead” (“East”) was most disappointing and probably the worst installment of the season. It could have been titled: “Not Much to See Here.” The show nonetheless offered much to write upon.

The Symbolism of Maggie’s Hair Cut

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In the first few minutes of “East” we see a shower scene with Maggie Greene (Lauren Cohan) that highlights her exceptional feminine beauty.

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In the last several minutes of the episode we are shown Maggie’s gorgeous long brown hair being chopped off and her ending up with a man’s haircut.  Of her new hairdo she remarks: “I have to keep going and I don’t want anything getting in my way.” On the surface, what she refers to is the possibility of her long hair getting in the way. However, what “The Walking Dead” is really telling us is that for Maggie to become successful as the leader of the group she must give up her femininity. The underlying theme behind this position is one that has been featured in other installments this season. It is the strongly held Leftist notion that women should become more masculine. A corollary is that men should be more feminine. This idea is once again given expression in the character of Tobin, portrayed by Jason Douglas. When his love interest, Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride) leaves Alexandria, he remains behind the safety of the community’s walls rather than go out after her. Before leaving this subject, I must mention that having a cast member who is a teenage girl (Katelyn Nacon as Enid) cut off Maggie’s hair made the haircut some sort of a weird goddess ritual.

Maggie as Leader of the Core Group of Survivors

This season we have been introduced to the notion that Maggie has been stepping up, has demonstrated her capacity for leadership and has been recognized by the entire group, including Rick, as being the person who should lead them. I have never missed an episode of “The Walking Dead” and yet I never recall Maggie showing any unusual leadership qualities. Rick has always been the obviously leader. Could it be that the concept of Maggie as leader has been clumsily shoehorned into the series this season because Hillary Clinton has long been the favorite for the Democrat nomination for president?

Carol, the Saviors and Firearms

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Carol again going to pieces when she encounters the Saviors represented more disheartening and non-believable out of character behavior for her. The worst was yet to come as far as a lack of believability that took the audience partly out of the show.

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Carol’s rigging up an automatic weapon inside her jacket was not just childish in its absurdity it was a downright impossibility. The same can be said for her firefight with the Saviors.

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One has to assume that the creative people behind “The Walking Dead” are typical of the entertainment industry and have never even held a working firearm let alone fired one. Such people do not understand that unless one is shooting at a very close range or has the luck of a lottery winner, hitting a human sized target is not going to be accomplished unless a weapon is aimed properly.

I explain shooting thusly: Imagine a taunt rope that extends from the center of your eye to the target. First bring the weapon up to eye level and level it along the line of the rope. This is done by closing one eye, looking down the barrel of the weapon and sighting the firearm using front and rear sights. All that is left is to exhale, hold your breath and keep the weapon as still as possible while pulling the trigger. Things get more complicated at long ranges but for the purposes of this discussion it is not necessary to go further.

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That Carol could fire an automatic weapon from waist level and considerable distance and kill two Saviors outright and wound another two seriously was laughable. It was only the most recent example of a great many instances of characters from “The Walking Dead” firing off weapons without properly aiming them and still managing to hit what is being shot at.

The idea that knowing how to handle firearms expertly is a key to survival has been a constant theme in “The Walking Dead.” It is therefore an embarrassment that the people in charge of the show apparently feel such hostility toward “those NRA types” that they have never hired one to teach the cast how to consistently wield weapons in a realistic manner. A firearms instructor could also rid the show of the numerous annoying scenes in which individuals who are dipicted as having had expert firearms training are seen holding and carrying loaded weapons in ways that are contrary to good gun safety.

“The Walking Dead” and Religion

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It is surprising that the show adopted a plot line in which Carol’s Catholicism has moved her to go to great lengths in an attempt to avoid having to do any further killing. It is unusual for television to say anything positive about Christianity and even more rare to depict the Catholic faith in a manner that is not condemnatory. After the conflict with the Saviors, Carol’s rosary is found on the ground by a surviving Savior. Has she abandoned her faith? Between the Saviors, Jesus, Morgan Jones (Lennie James)  and Carol, I still fail to see what “The Walking Dead” has been trying to tell us about religion this season. Perhaps the series’ writers are conflicted about religion and it is for this reason that they have offered us a number of different and conflicting themes about the subject.

Morgan as the Conscience of “The Walking Dead”

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Morgan tells Rick Grimes, played by Andrew Lincoln, (and the audience): “All life is precious.” I must call out the show for being hypocrites. I do so because people in television usually have very little regard for the lives of unborn children inside their mother’s wombs and consider abortion to be no more serious than cutting one’s toe nails.

Daryl Dixon

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For six years now Daryl, played by Norman Reedus, has been depicted as the ultimate woodsmen and tracker and a person who is more at home outdoors than in. It strained credibility that he could be not just snuck up on by Dwight (Austin Amelio)  but shot from behind from close range.

Ending the episode with the audience uncertain about whether Dwight has murdered Daryl was a cheap stunt that was unbecoming of a successful and wonderfully entertaining series such as “The Walking Dead.” I do not believe fans of Daryl have anything to worry about. Daryl has always been the most popular character on the program and so it seems highly unlikely that he would be killed off. There is precedent for actors on hit shows becoming bored and wanting off to pursue other professional opportunities. If this were to be the case with Reedus, I would guess that what we would see is an arrangement similar to that struck between David Duchovny and “The X-Files” as the first run of that series wound down. Duchovny wanted to leave the show but was convinced to agree to appear in one out of every three or four episodes during the last one or two seasons of the program. Duchovny’s limited appearances in the show was a major reason why the quality of “The X-Files” trailed off so much after he ceased to be a regular cast member. Because “The Walking Dead” has had an ensemble cast, I do not think it would suffer all that much if Daryl becomes just a semi-regular character going forward.

Although we do not witness Daryl getting shot by Dwight, we do see Dwight fire in Daryl’s direction and then hear a thud suggesting a body hitting the ground.  Dwight’s remark after the shot is clearly a clue to the viewer: “He’ll be alright.,” he states. Expect to see Daryl in next week’ season finale alive but seriously wounded. He will be back next season in some capacity or other.

Blood Splatter

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Just after Daryl is shot we see stage blood splattered on the camera lens. This pointless gimmick was annoying when we first witnessed it. Now it is intolerable.

I predict that next week’s season finale will be one for the history books and make us forget this very weak episode. Five days is too long to have to wait! Watch it with me and check back in with my blog if you are interested in my thoughts on the episode.

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The Catholic Church and its Teachings on Homosexual Sex, Gay Marriage and Abortion

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The teachings of the Catholic Church regarding homosexual sex, gay marriage and abortion are widely misunderstood and have been often misrepresented. In this post my aim is to explain these subjects in the most plain language possible.

The Catholic Church teaches that homosexual sex is a sin. This is because it has no connection to procreation and cannot occur within a marriage recognized by the Church since marriage is believed to be intended for procreation. Since gay marriage cannot lead to a child being conceived, it is viewed by the Catholic Church as against God’s will and so not recognized by the Catholic Church.

It must be pointed out, however, that the Catholic Church believes that we are all sinners and so no person engaged in a homosexual relationship is barred from attending a church service.

The Catholic Church believes that all life is sacred. For this reason abortion is viewed as murder.

Why cannot the American Left accept that there is an endless variety of Christian churches and if a person is not happy with the teachings of the Catholic Church on homosexuality, gay marriage, abortion, or any other subject, she or he can simply find and join a different church more to their liking? I cannot leave this subject without pointing out that those who cry the loudest about what they perceive as a lack of tolerance for Islam are the same people who have the least tolerance for Christians and Catholics in particular.

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You may also want to follow my blog. I blog a lot about politics. My many blog posts about the entertainment industry also touch upon politics. See my blog’s home page for links to these blog posts.

You can follow me on Twitter (T.J.Kong @Ride_the_bomb).

You can email me at T_J_Kong@yahoo.com. I always welcome suggestions for blog topics.

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 Thank you for reading my blog.

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A Review of Episode Five (“Babylon”) of the Return Run of “The X-Files” (Some Spoilers are Revealed Below)

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Episode Five (“Babylon”) of the Return Run of “The X-Files” left me more conflicted than any installment of the series ever has. Read on if you wish to learn why the show pulled me in two different directions.

Islamofascist Terrorists on Television

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I was shocked by the first few scenes that depicted an Islamic fascist terrorist cell, two of its members entering an art gallery, explosions and people catching on fire.  Arabic terrorism being featured on television dramas is not common these days. The belief that such depictions are racist (or in some cases the fear of being labeled racist) has made them few and far between. (The pure insanity of associating a religion-related issue with race is a subject better left to another blog post.) More usual is the fantastical image of a white male terrorist dressed in typical American clothes and carrying himself in a typical American manner that we see in the “See Something Say Something” videos that play on endless loops at every major train station in the United States.

I applaud “The X-Files” for having the courage to show the television viewer Muslim terrorism in all its horror. The show deserves credit for its willingness to accept absurd criticism from individuals such as  Price Peterson, who wrote in his tv.com review that the episode “included some of the hoariest, most stereotypical terrorism imagery of the past 15 years.” How in the heck could the word “stereotypical” apply here when 99% of the terrorist attacks against the U.S. since the year 2000 have been conducted by Muslims? Using the word “stereotypical,” as well as using the word racist in the context of Islamic terrorism, are two prime examples of how the Left tries to win politically by changing the definition of words.

The Politics of The X-Files

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There is also much about the episode that I condemn. Before the terrorist attack one of the terrorist suffers racist and xenophobic insults at the hands of three “red neck” Texans. In the eyes of “The X-Files,” Texans are seen to be as almost hateful as the terrorist and stereotypes are acceptable when they involve white Southerners. (Price Peterson did not feel moved to point out this stereotype in his review.) Another implication behind the behavior of the Texans is that the conduct of the U.S. and its citizens is at least partially responsible for terrorism. This point is further brought home  by a cable news debate several minutes of which are seen and/or heard during the episode. The argument is disgusting.

About half way through “Babylon,” F.B.I. Special Agent Brem (Eric Breker) expresses views about Muslims and terrorism that are only held by a minuscule percentage of the American population and no F.B.I. agents that exist outside of movies and TV shows. The audience is condescended to when Agent Dana Scully, portrayed by Gillian Anderson, responds to his rant with the line: “Not all Muslims are extremists, certainly.” Even a young child knows this. The lesson is repeated when two Homeland Security agents converse in Arabic later on in the show. Are we all grade school students who need to be reminded that some Muslims are working in law enforcement to keep us safe in the U.S.?

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Before Brem exits the episode he explains that he wants a terrorist in a coma, who is actually a “beautiful baby boy,” because he did not activate his suicide vest, to remain alive so he suffers. When Scully says she “witnessed unqualified hate that appears to have no end” later in the episode she is talking not of the “beautiful baby boy” terrorist but of Brem and a nurse.

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This white female nurse (Janet Kidder) in question tries to kill the terrorist by turning off his respirator. When she is interrupted she takes the bizarre step of utilizing the opportunity to express over-the-top opposition to Islamic refuges entering the U.S. I assume “The X-Files” creator and episode writer, Chris Carter feels that consulting the online terrorist membership directory will be enough to vet those refuges and ensure that no terrorists enters the U.S. disguised as refugees. The fact of the matter is that many of those who request asylum either have no paperwork or destroy it before it can be checked. Such people can claim to be anyone and none of their assertions can be verified. Terrorists have already entered the Europe and the United States while pretending to be refuges. Will Carter allow any of the refuges to crash at his mansion until they can get settled?

The nurse, of course, had to be a white person because the Left believes that non-whites can never be prejudiced. I am surprised the nurse was not a man since in the eyes of people like Carter, white males are responsible for all that is bad in the world.

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Moral Equivalency

The overarching theme of the installment was moral equivalency. Carter wants us to come away from the episode with the sense that the average citizen of the U.S. is little better than a Muslin terrorist. This point is touched upon during a discussion that takes place during the final scene in which violent passages in the Koran and the Old Testament (or Tora) are compared. The comparison is flawed for several reasons. The number of Christians or Jews who commit terrorist acts after claiming to be inspired by their respective holy books is so small as to be statistically insignificant. Only a small minority of the world’s Christians and Jews interpret their holy books literally. By contrast, 100% of the planet’s faithful Muslims believe every word of the Koran was dictated by God to Mahomed and therefore believe the Koran is the literal word of God. Keep this last point in mind the next time you hear a terrorist justify terrorism by quoting from the violent rhetoric of the Koran.

Miller and Einstein

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Moving on to more lighthearted criticism, the episode introduced us to F.B.I. Agents Miller and Einstein. Lauren Ambrose brought to life a mildly interesting character in Einstein.  Robbie Amell’s Miller looks more like someone you might see posing outside an Abercrombie and Fitch store with no shirt than an F.B.I. agent.  The concept that the two are meant to be young versions of Agent Fox Mulder (portrayed by David Duchovny) and Scully was just plain silly in a stupid and boring manner of speaking. Is Carter really setting the stage for “The X-Files” to continue on with these new characters after Duchovny and Anderson either quit the show or age out of their roles?

A Major Continuity Error

IMG_0722.JPGThis photograph was taken from my TV and is the best I could do. On both the left and the right sides of the gallery you can see fire balls, smoke and debris from two different bomb detonations.

Before I close I must bring up a whopper of a continuity error made by those who created “Babylon.” It is obvious that, as previously mentioned, the show wants the audience to accept that only one of the two terrorists who walked into the art gallery detonates his suicide vest. However, the viewer is clearly presented with two distinct explosions and two different fireballs during the art gallery scene. This would suggest both vests had to have been detonated. If they were, however, both terrorists would have been blown to smithereens and neither one could have later been seen lying in a hospital bed and in a coma.

Despite the hammering I have given the episode in this review, I nonetheless found it to be fun and thought-provoking TV. Check my blog next week for a review of the season finale.

If you enjoyed this blog post, please consider sharing it on Facebook or Twitter.

 You may also want to follow my blog and follow me on Twitter (T.J.Kong @Ride_the_bomb).

You can email me at T_J_Kong@yahoo.com. I always welcome suggestions for blog topics.

 I also have a YouTube.com channel called: “Ride the Bomb!” See https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpauuMnQBSI2FWgFiScj2mw

I believe in free speech and so I approve all blog comments. No exceptions.

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