You don't know what they took- you don't know how far I'll go to get her back.
Please, excuse how unforgivably late this is, I've just been banging my head against the screen of my computer for the last several days, for being so damn stupid. Yup, there's nothing quite like realizing the answer to a question you've been torturing yourself over for about half a year was right in front of your eyes, to make you feel like you may well have been dropped on your head as a child. Though before I go any further I suppose I should probably just lay it out there right now, SPOILERS. SPOILERS ALL UP IN THIS REVIEW. Spoilers growing off of the goddamn trees. So if you've got something against spoilers, then kindly GTFO, my friend, this article was meant for wiser eyes than yours.
Alright, now that the riff-raff's gone, let's shift our focus back to what we're all really here to talk about- The Army, Chin-Wei (nothing like a foreign name to make me feel self-conscious about my spelling), and KULANI. KULANI, KULANI, MOTHERFUCKING KULANI.
I mean, excuse my French, but... just wow. It's because of things like this that I have to give all kinds of respect to the writers of We're Alive, for keeping the plot focused on one big question that's basically driving Saul and Victor's storyline forward, only to pull something like this out of actually nowhere (just when my guard was down), and something so amazing too! I mean, you can fully measure how complicated and intricate the plot of this show is by moments like this, where only the possibility of an answer is given, and yet that in itself opens up a whole 'nother wormhole of questions and possibilities.
But I'll get more into that later (must save the best for last, must save the best for last, must save the best for last...), for now let's focus on our good pal Michael. Now kids, Micheal's been having kind of a rough time of it lately. You see, about 2/3rds of the people he's met in the last year or so have just been massacred by a mad gang of psycho, RPG carrying, escaped prisoners, in an enormous 9/11 style attack that destroyed almost everything he'd been clinging too for sanity, in a world turned so fucking nuts, that dead people are walking around eating people, and all civilization has just about collapsed.
Oh yea, and all that death and destruction- potentially his fault. Sooo basically he's got a pretty bad case of the Mondays, and may or may not be driving himself insane with despair and anxiety.
Honestly, it's a serious testament to how incredibly intriguing this story has gotten that the state Micheal is in now is not the most interesting thing on my list, especially after this episode. As I said last time, it struck me as a bit odd how Micheal was so unusually lax on Riley after her little incident, and this chapter does nothing but strengthen the argument that yes, emotionally, Micheal is more messed up than a five year old trapped alone in a room with a Chinese finger-trap. He’s belligerently tired, totally unsure of himself or his abilities anymore, and is only just coming to terms with the complete amount of crapola he’s gotten himself into (and just scares the willies out of him).
Hey, things are looking up though right? Not only is the base safe, but the Army’s there! Micheal’s people! Hooray! Oh wait, that’s right, it’s the Zombie Apocalypse, which apparently means that every time something nice finally happens, the world has to add a big ‘ol rotten cherry on top just to ruin everything- I am of course talking about Corporal Puck.
Okay, so he’s not exactly the worst instance of this ‘rotten cherry effect,’ (I like to believe the time they had their party crashed by insane, gun-wielding maniacs might take the cake there) but come on, that zombie that hung onto the chopper the whole damn time made a better first impression than that out-of-line jerk. Micheal held his ground admirably though, reassuring the audience that he hasn’t completely lost his touch as leader, a fact you can’t truly appreciate until afterwards in the bunker, when even Pegs being all adorable and nice (I mean more than usual, of course) can’t keep him conscious (okay, it’s an assumption, but really, find me a more deadpan example of a completely ambiguous ending, go on, I dare you).
All in all, a pretty good story for the Tower Gang this week, though to be frank, it was more of an intense dialogue scene split into two parts than a real story, and was largely Micheal centered. Ordinarily this would not be a complaint, but after last week, only having two or three mentions of Riley the entire episode seems somehow unfair, though reading this back to myself, I have to admit I do sound kind of like the spoiled child in the supermarket preparing to throw a fit because he can’t have both toys to play with.
I’m very pleased with how well this first introduction to the army was pulled off, and am looking forward to future episodes featuring even more instances of this attitude those enlisted in the armed forces have taken up in this time of unbelievably harsh survival, and how those remaining from the Tower will come to adapt to it with the two strongest pillars of their small community now both festering in some very dark places.
But now to focus on a much different, though just as exciting topic: Saul and Victor! At one point in the chapter I just had to pause and stop myself from laughing when I just heard an old Southern Narrator in my head say “Now them Tower Boys had gotten themselves into a whole heap of trouble…”
Okay that sounds a bit weird, but it’s because of shit like that that I really admire this chapter, which seemed very focused on continuing to outline Saul and Victor’s relationship, and how perfectly imperfect they were matched together, Victor playing the good cop, Saul playing the bad cop, the Starsky to his Hutch, if you will, the Frodo to his Sam, the Tom Sawyer to his Huck Finn (tell me that isn’t exactly what you were thinking during the fruit orchard scene).
And both to stir up the relationship, and actually outline it perfectly, we have the addition of Chin-Wei, a very interesting new character, not just because of the fact that apparently she’s survived this long almost entirely alone, which is impressive in itself, but because she also has a mysterious (but apparently well documented) history with the dynamic duo’s number one most wanted, the Mallers.
Also quite interesting, her collection of cats, which I was happy to see matched up with the metaphor for cats and a survivor’s loneliness, which the chapter seemed to be hinting at the entire time.
You’ll forgive me if I mostly focus on their first encounter with her, since, admittedly, the beginning of Saul and Victor’s story this week was rather dull. It’s very obvious how the writers tried to spice up their scavenging of the Tower ruins, but for the most part it felt both lacking in intrigue and far too drawn out, for what was an interesting, yet very unrewarding payoff.
But that’s not important anymore. None of it is. Wanna know why? One word, three syllables. KULANI. God, I’m sorry, but what a FANTASTIC way to end a chapter, I mean, THAT; THAT is how you make an incredibly exciting twist/cliffhanger. Really, I don’t know what I can say that hasn’t already been repeated before me on the forums (especially after all the time I took to write this up, once again, I apologize), the question as to who the hell has been spying on the Tower has been one of the most intriguing mysteries in the shows entire run, and this sudden reveal to the audience, out of the goddamn blue, it’s like being told your wife is pregnant for the first time.
EVERYTHING MAKES SENSE NOW, BUT NOW NOTHING WILL EVER MAKE SO MUCH SENSE EVER AGAIN. I mean, just, aw man, I really have to end here, because I am 100% certain that if I were to continue, you would have to get a carton of tissues to wipe up the fanatical nerdgasm I would spew all over this review. A Classy, just barely, but still a Classy.
Long live We’re Alive, and here’s to cliffhangers that make you just want to hang yourself, if only to stop the suffering of waiting for the next episode.