Is It Time To “Walk” Off?

No More Pudding

Last night’s episode of The Walking Dead left me with a lot of questions.  Most of them weren’t about why certain things went down in the episode.  No, they were primarily about why I watch the show and have loyally done so for eight seasons and whether or not I want to invest as much time in the lives of these characters anymore.

Spoilers for last night’s episode and the entire series after this photo!


Season Eight, Episode Nine, Honor, showed TWD fans the one thing that they thought they would never see happen in the series…….Carl died.  Sure, anybody that has been watching this season of the show, in particular the last couple of episodes, knew that Carl’s chance of survival was pretty much zero unless the bite he received was from a Whisperer (who haven’t officially joined the series yet but may or may not have been alluded to in past episodes).

Starting in the mid-season finale, Carl started to become weak and feverish.  He hid the symptoms well from his friends, but by the time episode nine arrived, he was quickly going down for the count.  The episode spent most of its hour plus run time saying goodbye to Carl through his own visions and through his words of wisdom to his father, Rick.


The secondary plot of the episode featured Morgan and Carol attempting to save King Ezekiel from the Saviors.  In it, we see Morgan once again spiraling into a mindset of murder and mayhem over saving precious lives.  Carol attempts to counter his decent, but with very little success.  By the end of the episode, though, King Ezekiel has been saved and a possible new “kid of the apocalypse” named Henry (Morgan’s protege) rises to the top of the heap when he stabs Ezekiel’s last remaining captor through the back of the neck.


The episode was okay.  It definitely wasn’t my favorite episode but I’ve seen better.  Questions entered my mind as the show played out.  Should it bother me that I’m not bothered at all by the loss of Carl? Can Morgan just pick a mood and stick with it?  Rick’s eyes have been red for the entire season.  Does he need to get that looked at? Why did it take Carl so long to get sick? Will somebody please shut Eugene up?

The biggest question, though, was this one:  Why am I still watching this show?

I’ve been a huge fan of The Walking Dead from the start.  I loved the fact that it focused on the human aspects of a zombie apocalypse.  I appreciated how the living became the real threat to our little group of survivors and that the walkers were a constant, but fairly predictable secondary threat.  I enjoyed seeing characters such as Carol and Daryl change over the seasons.  I loved to hate Shane and hated to see him go when he did.  Yeah, Lori was a pain, but I missed her after she left as well.  Beth, Dale, T-Dog, Noah, Glenn, Merle, Hershel, Sophia, and so many more characters came and went and I hated seeing most of them go.  In fact, I still miss a few of them.


I defended the second season, which took place in and around Hershel’s farm.  Many fans of the series considered it to be a boring and slow sophomore effort, but I appreciated the character building done over the course of the season.  I have defended recent episodes that focus on one character, particularly the Tara-centric episode.  I also loved and defended that crazy cliffhanger that asked the question, “Who did Negan kill?”

But these last few episodes have found me spending more time looking at my phone and getting up to check the laundry.  I’ve lost interest in most of the new characters and now hate characters that I once really enjoyed (I’m looking at you, Eugene).  Only a few of the newer characters (Gabriel, Simon, Ezekiel, Aaron) keep me interested in the series.

As far as the older characters go, Carol has been pushed to the background.  Daryl mumbles and grunts his way through most of his scenes without really adding anything positive to the storyline anymore.  Michonne is a shell of her old self.  Maggie still has potential, but has been derailed in recent episodes.  I’m not quite sure where they are going with Rosita and Tara.  These characters just aren’t interesting anymore.

I can’t buy into the fact that Negan is this all controlling leader.  No offense to Jeffrey Dean Morgan, but he doesn’t have an imposing frame nor does he have the intensity of the comic version of Negan.  I’ve also grown tired of Rick constantly crying and moping about the place.  There were flashes of old Rick here and there, but for the most part I don’t care about what happens to him or most of the other characters in the show.


Carl was the one character that seemed to always be developing into something impressive.  He was the one character that pretty much everyone hated in the early seasons of the series.  In fact, most people wanted the poor kid dead.  I think that it says quite a lot about the acting ability of Chandler Riggs that he was able to portray such an annoying little turd (who is responsible for the death of one of my favorite characters, Dale, no matter what Riggs says, LOL) and develop him into quite possibly the toughest and most intelligent character on the show.  I SHOULD have cared that Carl died last night, but having become so detached from the series in recent months, I didn’t care at all.

I’ll continue to watch the series for a few more episodes, but if things don’t change soon, I might be walking out on The Walking Dead.

Thank you for reading my post.  Let me know how you feel about the current state of  The Walking Dead in the comments.  My The Cloverfield Paradox review will be coming later this week.

Aro Lucha Live!

Beaumont, TX

Friday evening found my son and I deep in the heart of east Texas.  We attended an Aro Lucha show at the Beaumont Civic Center.  In the last year my son has really taken a lot of interest in lucha libre, a form of professional wrestling originated and perfected in Mexico.  I’ve encouraged and molded that interest by allowing him to watch Lucha Underground on Netflix and pulling up videos on the web of wrestling matches from companies such as CMLL and AAA.  I’ve also taught him what little information and history that I know about the wonderfully colorful world of lucha libre.

My initial exposure to luch libre was via WCW.  Wrestlers such as La Parka, Psicosis, Juventud Guerrera, and Rey Mysterio, Jr. grabbed my attention.  I also enjoyed the underhanded antics of the Guerreros.  I eventually started watching promotions like AAA and CMLL and begin to watch the careers of wrestlers like Blue Demon, Jr. and Shocker.


My son and I arrived at the event about an hour before the doors opened in the hopes of catching a glimpse of some of the wrestlers.  We saw John Hennigan (aka John Morrison, Johnny Mundo, Johnny Impact), Taya Valkyrie, and members of LAX walk into the building.  Other wrestlers were walking in as well, but we were parked a little too far to tell who they were (some had on hoodies).

Once the doors opened, we went into a world where there was a free photo area with an Aro Lucha background, free Aro Lucha temporary tattoos and raffle tickets, and shirts, masks, and Meet and Greet opportunities for sale.  Concessions were also available at reasonable prices.


We entered the arena for the show and saw the brightly colored ring.  There was also an entrance ramp with a large screen playing the Aro Lucha “sizzle reel” to get folks pumped for the show.  As more people flowed into the arena, a Texas based DJ began playing upbeat music to keep the crowd’s energy level up.  A hype man also circled the arena to energize the crowd, encouraging chants and screams from the audience.

When it was time for the show to begin (and it began promptly at 7:30), the announcer, Dee Dee, entered the arena on the entrance ramp and gave a quick run down on the rules of the matches.  After that, it was time for the first match, which featured Xtra Talented facing off against Thunder Rosa (aka Kobra Moon from Lucha Underground) and Lowrider.  The teams provided an excellent opening bout which had a fairly long run time.


Other matches included wrestlers such as Steve Pain and Laredo Kid facing off against LAX, Demus and Super Crazy versus Hurricane Helms and Mascarita Dorada, Ultima Ninja versus “The Best Ever” Sammy Guevara, a three way match featuring Low Ki, James Storm, and MVP, and the main event, a six-man tag event featuring the teams of Chavo Guerrero, Jr., John Hennigan, and Taya Valkyrie versus indie wrestler Keyra, Maximo, and the legendary Blue Demon, Jr.


All of the matches went well, with Sammy Guevara, Laredo Kid, Thunder Rosa, and Lowrider turning in some of the biggest performances of the night.  The more seasoned veterans, especially those in the main event, delivered as always.  MVP and John Hennigan taunted the crowd.  James Storm drank beer straight from the hands of audience members.

Despite being a promotion that is still in its early stages, Aro Lucha showed me excellent signs of growth potential based on the quality of the talent on the card, the production level of the live event, and the heavy interaction with the fan base.  Sammy Guevara is a young and talented wrestler, and the promotion should use him as much as possible to gain a following.  Seasoned veterans such as Blue Demon Jr., John Hennigan and Chavo Guerrero, Jr. are also excellent flag bearers for the company if they can lock them in for more shows.

The level of excitement in the fans was great.  Many of them, old and young (myself included) wore masks of their favorite wrestlers.  The staff at the event was friendly, interacted with the fans, and as far as I know there were no reports of any bad experiences from those in attendance.


Photo by Ryan Pelham of the Beaumont Enterprise.


My son loved every minute of the event, and said that attending the event was one of the coolest things he’s ever done.  I really hope that Aro Lucha returns to Beaumont or, better yet, makes its way into southwest Louisiana so that we can see attend another live show.  Even if Aro Lucha doesn’t make it as a major promotion, I hope that they at least develop a regional brand.  They are based in Nashville, TN, but their brand is a perfect fit for states like Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and California.

If you get a chance to attend an Aro Lucha event, I highly recommend it.

As always, thanks for reading my post.  I’ll be reviewing the latest film in the Cloverfield franchise, the direct-to-Netflix The Cloverfield Paradox, in the very near future.  I also have plans to check out and review the Black Panther film.  I’m also just a few weeks away from attending CyPhaCon in Lake Charles.  Keep checking my blog for more information and fun!


Rise Of The TMNT Reveal!

Somewhere In The Sewers

Just a few minutes ago, the official Facebook page for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had a live event where they officially revealed the new look of the Turtles, April O’Neil, and Master Splinter from the upcoming Nickelodeon series, Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  Myself and a ton of other fans tuned in to see what our favorite heroes on the half shell would look like and here are my thoughts along with photos of the characters and the cast that will play them.


Raphael is up first.  In this incarnation of the group, Raph will be the leader.  According to a panel at the live event that featured Ant Ward (co-executive producer), Andy Suriano (co-executive producer), and Rob Paulsen (voice of Raph in the 80’s, Donnie in the 2012 series, and voice director on the new series), Raphael will be a reactionary, think first leader.  Based on the photo, you can see that he’s ditched the sai for tonfas.  Not much else was revealed about him except that he’s voiced by Omar Miller.


The tech-savvy Donatello is next, with a streamlined look and a ton of gadgets.  He’ll be voiced by Josh Brener.  He’s still a nerd, but according to the panel he will be more confident than other incarnations.  Donnie will still use his trusty bo staff but, as in recent years, it’s loaded with gadgets.


Here’s the new look for Leonardo.  Much like Donatello, Leo features a slimmer look.  He won’t be the leader (at least for now, hopefully that changes), but seems to have been placed into a fast-talking, fun-loving, turtle with attitude role.  Leo’s Katana blades are gone, replaced by a single Odachi sword.  The way it was explained by the panel made it seem like he’s basically a sharper version of Michelangelo.  He’s voiced by Ben Schwartz.


The last turtle is Michelangelo.  He’s an artist and according to Paulsen, the one turtle that most closely fits the legacy of TMNT.  Voiced by Brandon Mychal Smith, Michelangelo will lose the nunchucks and use a Kusari-fundo instead.  Oh, and don’t worry, he still loves pizza according to the panel.


April O’Neil and Splinter finish up the new looks.  April was the first character revealed at the event and she’s definitely different from the classic April O’Neil and even the newer, teenaged version thanks to a glowing green bat.  Many fans have mentioned their dislike for her race change.  That personally doesn’t bother me, but when asked about her new look (and not specifically her race), Ant War and Andy Suriano mentioned that they wanted to reflect the “diversity of the world around us” and “wanted to portray a contemporary teenager.”  It sounded like a roundabout attempt to address the race change without directly addressing it.  I did see negative comments posted during the feed but, c’mon, people, this is just a character.  Get over it.  O’Neil will be voiced by Kat Graham.

Splinter looks very different from his former incarnations as well.  He reminds me of Master Shifu from Kung Fu Panda.  He’ll be voiced by Eric Bauza.  Not much was said about his character, but it seems like he’ll have a tad more attitude in this incarnation than in the past.


L to R:  Kat Graham, Josh Brener, Omar Miller, Brandon Mychal Smith, and Ben Schwartz.


According to the panel, the turtles were designed around their personalities and attitudes. Based on what I’ve read (and with a small bit of input from the panel), Raph will be a snapping turtle, which fits his angry attitude.  Donatello will be a softshelled turtle but more confident than previous incarnations.  Leonardo will be a red-eared slider who is very sure of himself and Michelangelo will be a box turtle who likes to “tag his shell” with stickers and paint.


The overall look doesn’t impress me very much.  I’m completely willing to give the show a chance, as I believe that if the stories are strong enough, the animation won’t matter as much.  Folks who know me know that I love Donatello, but this version of him is the least visually impressive one I’ve seen so far.  I don’t care much for how lean both he and Leonardo look.  Michelangelo looks better, but he has an extremely amphibian vibe going much like the other turtles.  Raphael looks the best in my opinion.  Of course, he also looks more like a reptile than his brothers in this version of the characters.  I’m not too fond of April’s design and I can’t stand Splinter’s design at all.

Again, I’ll hold off judgment until I watch the actual series, but the overall look and feel of these characters is not very impressive.

Thanks for reading my post.  Let me know what your impressions are of the characters.  Do you like the look?  Does the race change of April bother you?  All opinions are welcomed and encouraged.