Metal Chick of the Month – The Harp Twins

Can you feel the wind of the north, my dear Camille and Kennerly?

How about we celebrate insane six years of The Headbanging Moose with two very talented women who have the unique ability of transforming the heaviest and most intense metal classics into serene and touching ballads only armed with their ethereal harps? I’m talking about Camille and Kennerly Kitt, known worldwide as The Harp Twins, who have achieved an unprecedented success not only among metal fans but in countless other music genres and entertainment segments, leading them to tour across several countries in North and America, Europe and anywhere else where their whimsical sounds are truly appreciated. And no, you’re not seeing double, as The Harp Twins are indeed identical twins, providing your avid ears double the pleasure with their refined skills by mixing all types of rock, metal and soundtrack arrangements with the gentle sounds flowing form their harps. Not only that, Camille and Kennerly are also accomplished actresses, showing there’s no actual limit for this talented American duo.

Born in the city of Chicago, Illinois, United States in 1989, with their heritage being mostly Norwegian mixed with Swedish, Finnish, English, Scottish, French, German and a little Cherokee Indian, Camille and Kennerly began playing the piano when they were children, followed by the harp when they went to junior high school. The duo was drawn by the beauty of the harp, saying it seemed like a magical instrument to them. By the way, their first harps (small, pre-owned lever harps) were bought with money they got from jobs such as babysitting and dog-walking, in order to show their mother they were really serious about playing the instrument. Classically trained in piano and also capable of playing a little percussion, the two blonde harpists also love to sing, which can be seen in some of their own original compositions and cover songs, although of course their main focus is and will always be their mesmerizing harps.

Having already played their electric harps, acoustic and electro-acoustic concert grand harps in several concert series, festivals, fairs and conventions in front of the most diverse crowds, even playing for US presidents, tech geniuses and global leaders, Camille and Kennerly have released over 100 singles online since the beginning of their career, as well as some very interesting cover albums, developing a huge cult of followers worldwide through their social media and becoming undoubtedly the most famous harp duo in the world. All that success is not in vain, of course, as both sisters hold a Bachelor of Music degree in Harp Performance and graduated with highest honors (“Summa Cum Laude”) at Wheaton College Conservatory of Music, located in Wheaton, Illinois, not to mention their previous years in a music studies program at a local college where they were in the Honors Scholar Program and represented the college at several collegiate summits.

Despite being formally trained in classical music and having the aforementioned degrees, their true obsession in music has always been taking the harp to new heights and exploring new grounds, nurturing a deep passion for arranging and performing rock, metal and soundtrack music as a harp duet, as well as their Nordic-inspired original songs thanks to their Scandinavian origin, always without any backtracks, studio productions or record labels involved, beautifully representing what it truly means to be an independent artist. And after listening to their duet arrangements of contemporary songs from artists including Iron Maiden, The Rolling Stones, Metallica, AC/DC, Pink Floyd, Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, Guns N’ Roses, Enya and Journey, among many, many others, you’ll be able to fully understand why they have chosen to follow such distinguished path, embellishing the airwaves with their gentle, melodic and classy harp fingering.

As already mentioned, The Harp Twins, who by the way perform on Venus “Classic” Concert Grand pedal harps and Lyon & Healy “Silhouette” Electric lever harps, have several albums released (also in physical format) apart from their hundreds of online singles and videos, with their YouTube videos totaling over 106 million views with over 600,000 subscribers as of September 2019. For instance, their cover of Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven alone garnered over three million YouTube hits as of September 2019, while their version of Iron Maiden’s Fear of the Dark received over 11 million views as of September 2019. Their six self-produced albums are Harp Attack (2013), Harp Attack 2 (2015), Harp Attack 3 (2018), Harp Fantasy (2013), Harp Fantasty 2 (2016), and Winter Lights (2017); while the Harp Attack series are dedicated to covers of Rock N’ Roll, Hard Rock and Heavy Metal songs and the Harp Fantasy series focus on covers of video game, anime, film and television soundtracks such as Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Pirates of the Caribbean, Final Fantasy, Star Trek, Star Wars, Vikings, Silent Hill and The Lord of the Rings, just to name a few, Winter Lights was their first-ever holiday album, including two new original songs and ten new arrangements of holiday classics from years gone by. Furthermore, their music has also been featured in countless media like National Geographic, The Huffington Post, ABC News, Conan O’Brien’s TeamCoco, AMCtv.com, Guitar World, Revolver, and many more, having also been praised by different music icons like Megadeth, Billy Idol, Kansas and Within Temptation, who shared the twins’ music on their official social media.

As a metalhead, I’m pretty sure you’re eager to listen to Camille and Kennerly playing some of your favorite metal classics of all time, right? Well, all you have to do is subscribe to their YouTube channel, sit down and enjoy their harp versions for, but not limited to, Rush’s Closer to the Heart, Black Sabbath’s Paranoid, Dio’s Rainbow in the Dark, Metallica’s Fade to Black, Iron Maiden’s Run to the Hills, and Megadeth’s A Tout le Monde. Go visit their official YouTube channel, or buy their music from CD Baby or from Apple Music, relax and enjoy these and countless other classic like Send Me an Angel, Smoke on the Water, Sweet Child O’ Mine, Hotel California, Don’t Stop Believin’, Every Breath You Take, and so on.

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Camille and Kennerly always say they switch off playing melody and accompaniment, even within the same piece, and also that apart from all cover songs they do either by request or by their own choice, they have also been composing original music for their harps for years, which can be seen in songs like North and the music theme for their own animated logo. In addition, you can also find Camille and Kennerly as guest harpists in the intro Time to Set You Free,  from the album The Second Big Bang, released in 2017 by Brazilian Melodic Power Metal project Soulspell. And regarding her main influences and idols in music, the twins mentioned in one of their interviews that their earliest musical influences were rock and classic rock because that’s what their mother used to listen to, including bands like The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, Billy Idol, Van Halen, ZZ Top and Johnny Cash, later expanding their range due to their classical training to most artists and bands who think outside the box and follow their own path.

Although their main focus is obviously on their harp career, the duo is also famous for their acting and modeling skills, being members of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and AFTRA and having already acted in theater, film and television. For instance, in the season 6 finale of The Walking Dead, they played a walker nicknamed “Ouch That’s My Hair”, who was fought and killed by the character Carol, and had roles as “The Marcelli Twins” in the dark teen comedy Blacktino (as you can see in the official trailer by clicking HERE), from 2011, as well as appearances in many other movies like Delivery Man (2013), Elephant Medicine (2010) and The End of Lost Beginnings (2009), and in several commercial such as a national Japanese commercials for Chupa Chups lollypops. Still talking about their film career, Camille and Kennerly always like to mention that they do all their videos by themselves, arranging the music, finding the filming location, making their own costumes, filming everything with a small hand-held video camera on a tripod, recording the sound in their own living room and editing the video themselves. Needless to say, there’s no such thing as playbacks or any other “magic tricks” in their videos, as what you hear is exactly how it’s being played by our multi-talented twins. Also, when asked about their life on the road, Camille and Kennerly said in several interviews they have lots of memorable moments to share, like when they represented the United States at the World Harp Festival in Paraguay, where they had extensive support from the American embassy resulting in a full concert the day after the event to a sold out theater, and all of their performances at several Walker Stalker Cons, playing right before panels with Norman Reedus, Andrew Lincoln, Chandler Riggs and Greg Nicotero. It’s impossible to list all events they have participated so far in their career, featuring in all types of public, private, philanthropic, academic, corporate, cultural and political events, proving once again how talented and professional they are.

Of course, there’s no Camille and Kennerly without their harps and vice-versa, and that’s why it’s important and truly interesting to know more about the girls’ ethereal weapons. Their acoustic concert grand harps are 6’3” (or 1.9 m) and weigh 90 lbs (or 40.8 kg), while their electric harps are 4’ (or 1.22 m) and weigh 16 lbs (or 7.25 kg); regarding the number of strings, their acoustic concert grand harps have 47 strings (which can have three different pitches, those being flat, natural and sharp), their electric lever harps have 33 strings (which can have two different pitches, either flat/natural or natural/sharp), and their Harpsicle Harps have 26 strings. In addition, although it’s possible for the twins to use distortion on their electric harps, they don’t actually do that due to the difficulty to use distortion while still continuing the melody and accompaniment; however, you can enjoy Camille and Kennerly blasting distorted harp sounds on their cover version for Billy Idol’s White Wedding (by the way, Billy Idol himself even said that “if you live long enough you get to see this version of White Wedding”), and a slight effect in their Doctor Who Theme and The Smith’s Asleep covers. When asked about how they manage to carry their harps everywhere and how they handle their weight while playing, they said they put a strap on their backs to do that, but that they also bruise their hips from the straps if they wear the harps for too long. They love the freedom of movement, though, helping them to properly perform rock songs with their electric harps. Some people like to ask them why they don’t move even more while playing, and they said it’s tougher to reach a necessary balance with the harps than with a guitar or violin, for example.

Aside from being impressive harpists, Camille and Kennerly also have a variety of other interests and hobbies in their lives, keeping them absolutely busy pretty much all of the time. For instance, the twins are third degree black belts in Tae Kwon Do and former Tae Kwon Do instructors, which by the way caused two broken fingers to Kennerly while sparring one day, and stitches to Camille’s face as a result of puncture wound sustained while holding a board that Kennerly was breaking. In the end, those incidents made them decide to stop practicing martial arts and focus on their career as harpists. Our beloved blonde musicians were also competitive swimmers as kids (having both qualified for the Junior Olympics five times), are experts in rifle marksmanship, and are trained in horseback riding, not to mention their passion for other activities and hobbies such as hiking, working out, watching TV shows like The Walking Dead and Vikings, reading, writing, and so on. Moreover, the Kitt Twins are also actively involved in their community, supporting education and health initiatives for unprivileged children overseas, and volunteering for many years at a monthly deaf/hard-of-hearing social gathering (and yes, they know sign language), among other endeavors, as they strongly believe in the importance of giving back. The girls also sponsor a few kids in Ethiopia, helping to provide them school, food, clothing and medical care, always hoping more and more people will follow their steps to make the world a better place.

Last but not least, Camille and Kennerly’s connection as twins is beautifully externalized in the way they always look at each other while they’re playing, and in their twin costumes (which as mentioned are always put together by the twins themselves by mixing and matching things they already have at home), unless of course they need to dress differently for a commercial, film or media project. Having said that, if you want to have double the fun with the classy and mesmerizing music by Camille and Kennerly, or if you are an event organizer who’s searching for a truly unique attraction to captivate the attention of your guests on your next big event, you can get in touch with The Harp Twins by sending an email to HarpTwins@HarpTwins.com, and don’t forget to keep an eye on their Events Page on Facebook for all of their public performances, concerts and other events. And if you want to show your support to their distinguished work with their harps, as aforementioned you can purchase their music from Apple Music and from CD Baby, or simply visit their official website for all music, news, tour dates and other nice-to-know information about the unstoppable twins who give a beyond welcome touch of delicacy to our good old rock and metal music.

Camille and Kennerly’s Official Facebook page
Camille and Kennerly’s Official Instagram
Camille and Kennerly’s Official Twitter
Camille and Kennerly’s Official YouTube channel

“When someone tells us that our music has helped them through an illness, or inspired their child to learn an instrument, or even just given them some peace after a trying day, that means the world to us. As musicians, it’s the greatest feeling to know that our music has touched someone else in some way.” – Camille and Kennerly Kitt

Album Review – Godsmack / 1000hp (2014)

Lots of horsepower, groove, great riffs and strong vocal lines are just some of the things you’ll find in the amazing new album by Sully Erna and his bandmates.

Rating3

godsmack_1000hpAmerican Alternative Metal/Rock icons Godsmack have always split opinions among headbangers all over the world in regards to their music: are they heavy enough to stay away from the abhorrent Pop Music world, or too soft to be included in the select group of Heavy Metal giants such as Iron Maiden, Metallica and Megadeth? Well, although I’ve never been a huge fan of the band, I’ve always enjoyed the musicality produced by Sully Erna and his crew, considering them a band that is able to combine the “best of both worlds” and deliver their fans lots of memorable heavy music anthems.

Maybe the biggest issue with Godsmack is the fact they do not regularly release new albums: since their beginnings in 1998, they have launched only six studio albums (including their brilliant self-titled debut album), which is not a lot taking into account they have almost 20 years of existence. However, when they do release new material, it usually kicks fuckin’ ass, which is the case with their brand new album 1000hp, the sixth in their career. It might have taken them almost four years to launch the follow up to their 2010 gold-selling album The Oracle, but as I said it was worth the wait.

All the energy (or maybe I should say all the “horsepower”) fans have been eagerly expecting for the past four years is already found in the title-track, 1000hp, a song that translates the legacy of Godsmack into modern and thrilling Hard Rock, with powerful riffs, outstanding vocals and a chorus that truly credits it to become a Rock N’ Roll radio hit without any doubt. Add to that the following track, the also excellent FML (an acronym for “Fuck My Life”), and you’ll start getting addicted to this album: this is the type of song you know it’s Godsmack, with all those heavy riffs we learned to love since their early days.

Although Something Different, an alternative track that flirts with more contemporary rock music, doesn’t keep up with the same level of electricity from the previous tracks (especially due to its generic lyrics), everything gets back on track with What’s Next?, an excellent track that will sound amazing on their live performances and that seems to be extracted from their debut album thanks to its raw sonority, with highlights to the drumming dictating its pleasant rhythm.

godsmackGeneration Day showcases a more experimental Godsmack in terms of the sound each band member can take from their respective instruments, with kudos to guitarist Tony Rombola for the excellent groovy guitar solo in the middle, while Locked & Loaded couldn’t be more awesome than that: it’s pure Southern Rock totally inspired by Sully Erna’s never-ending feud with Mötley Crüe’s bassist Nikki Sixx, which is the reason why it’s track number SIX, got it? Honestly, those two should have a match at Wrestlemania or at least at SummerSlam one day, that would be really fun.

Then we have Living in the Gray, a song with hints of Alice In Chains and a very repetitive chorus, which fortunately doesn’t turn it into a bad song, and I Don’t Belong, a very traditional Godsmack tune which kind of continues where the previous song ended, with Sully’s great vocal performance enhancing its overall quality. And closing the album, Godsmack offer us Nothing Comes Easy, which despite having one of the heaviest riffs of the whole album ends up being too experimental and could have been a lot better if a little shorter, and the melancholic, intense and addictive semi-acoustic track Turning to Stone, some kind of “Voodoo 2.0” which will feature on The Walking Dead’s compilation Songs of Survival Volume 2, and by that you can imagine how good this song is, right?

And what about the album art, which perfectly matches its title, featuring of course the band’s traditional sun logo and a classic car emerging from the flames? Albeit quite simple, it’s totally effective, just as the whole album is. 1000hp might not be a masterpiece nor the most creative album in the world, but it’s a superb collection of kick-ass Hard Rock tunes that will surely please all Godsmack fans, from the most diehard to the new ones, and provide some very good moments to everyone attending their live concerts, enjoying a road trip, having a party or simply relaxing headbanging alone at home. I’m pretty sure that’s what everyone in the band wanted when they recorded 1000hp.

Best moments of the album: 1000hp, FML, Locked & Loaded and Turning to Stone.

Worst moments of the album: Something Different and Nothing Comes Easy.

Released in 2014 Universal Music

Track listing
1. 1000hp 3:47
2. FML 3:38
3. Something Different 4:42
4. What’s Next? 4:20
5. Generation Day 6:11
6. Locked & Loaded 4:12
7. Living in the Gray 4:07
8. I Don’t Belong 3:33
9. Nothing Comes Easy 5:38
10. Turning to Stone 5:16

Band members
Sully Erna – lead vocals, rhythm guitar
Tony Rombola – lead guitar, backing vocals
Robbie Merrill – bass guitar
Shannon Larkin – drums, percussion

The Walking Dead Review – Episode 416: A

It doesn’t matter if you’re a marauder or even a cannibal, always remember not to mess with Sheriff Rick Grimes.

***WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS***

If you haven’t seen A yet, I suggest you scroll down to the end of this post first and watch the entire episode before reading the rest of the text.

twd416_01So AMC’s The Walking Dead season 4 is finally over and, after all those flashbacks, introspective moments and just a few minutes of sheer violence (I was expecting a lot more of that, based on what the producers of the show were promising) in the last episode, curiously named only “A”, all fans will have to wait until October to get some extra doses of brutality and lots of answers for many things that were not explained at all, such as where Beth, Carol, Tyreese and Judith are, who will die on the hands of the people at Terminus, and how Rick and the others will escape from that nightmare.

I must admit the first five minutes were awesome, with that flashback showing our beloved hero Hershel back in the day where the prison was still a safe place, always helping everyone with his words of wisdom, and Rick was trying to be more human in order to become a better father, and then Rick covered in blood a totally away from reality. How did Rick reach that point? When did he snap and why? All that tension and mystery already put “A” well above most of the episodes from the second half of season 4, but unfortunately that didn’t last as long as we were all eagerly waiting for.

Of course, that sequence where Joe and his gang finally find Rick, Michonne and Carl, and the vision of Carl almost being raped by one of the marauders turning Rick into a merciless wild beast, was simply amazing. Our sheriff ripping Joe’s throat with his own teeth, like if he was some type of “alive zombie”, was awesome and showed why he and Carl have survived the apocalypse up to now and, of course, proved once again why the walkers are the least dangerous of all their problems. Rick almost surpassed Stallone ripping a guy’s throat with his own hand in the last Rambo movie in terms of bestiality, but let’s admit it’s pretty hard to be more violent and reckless than Mr. John Rambo.

Anyway, as I said, that scene was too short and Rick, Carl, Daryl and Michonne started the last part of their journey to Terminus. That bite surely turned Rick into a different person, and his survival instincts are now stronger than ever, which could be easily seen in each and every moment before and when the group reached the “sanctuary for all”: he left a bag full of weapons outside Terminus (which will most likely be their salvation next season), and he didn’t seem to trust any of the people there, especially this new guy, Gareth. Well, he was more than right, because when creepy Mary and Gareth offer them some food, Rick sees those strangers wearing Maggie’s poncho and Glenn’s vest and watch, and he then realizes that’s no sanctuary at all.

twd416_02But the worst was still to come, when amidst all the shooting Rick notices they were aiming at their feet and that they were not trying to kill them. Do you want to know why? Just think about the meat that Mary was serving them before and you’ll get it (and probably will be disgusted by that). They end up being caught by Gareth and the others members of that dreadful cult and sent to a train wagon, where not surprisingly they reunite with Glenn, Maggie, Bob and Sasha, and get to know Sgt. Abraham Ford, Eugene and Rosita.

And to end this season in a very exciting way, badass Rick doesn’t seem worried at all with the fact that they’re about to become Gareth and his bunch of cannibals’ afternoon snack. “They’re screwing with the wrong people.”, our sheriff said. Any doubts about that?

And this will be the last review about The Walking Dead on this website. Not because the show is not good anymore (it’s still awesome), but because the focus will be exclusively Heavy Metal and Hard Rock. So unless Rick starts listening to AC/DC during his fights against zombies and other humans in the following seasons, like Andrew Lincoln said he does prior to shooting some of his scenes, that’s all, folks.

A (FULL EPISODE)

The Walking Dead Review – Episode 415: Us

And they finally arrive at Terminus.

***WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS***

If you haven’t seen Us yet, I suggest you scroll down to the end of this post first and watch the entire episode before reading the rest of the text.

twd415_01Just one episode to go, and I’m still not really pumped up with season 4 from AMC’s The Walking Dead. I remember that during seasons 1, 2 and 3 I couldn’t wait for the next episodes, but now it really seems they’re dragging the show as much as possible just for (a lot of) money. Besides, many of the main characters have become so boring, like a shadow of what made them so good, especially Michonne and Daryl. Are the writers doing this with them to find an excuse to kill them in the show? And what about that “love is in the air” trend? Shouldn’t they be worried about zombies, food, water or anything else before spreading all that love in a world that doesn’t give a shit about it anymore?

First of all, Glenn’s quest to find Maggie no matter what has been really stupid. He has the right to go after the love of his life, no problem with that, but putting the lives of other people in danger because he’s too stubborn to follow a simple plan or request that would lead him to Maggie but in a relatively calm and safe way is too much. As soon as he saw the signs Maggie, Sasha and Bob left him, he started running like a moron. Why? When did running by yourself like an idiot become a good thing to do in the show? Anyway, he’s lucky that Abraham, Eugene and Rosita are really patient people, and that Tara is so “busy” fighting against her inner ghosts that she doesn’t really care if his ideas and actions are way beyond stupidity.

Talking about Eugene, Tara and Rosita, their dialogues yesterday were for me the highlight of the episode. It was so funny seeing Eugene telling Tara she’s smoking hot, just to hear her replying to him “Yeah, and I like girls!” That was a really awkward moment, and add to that Abraham telling Tara she saw her staring at Rosita’s tits, and you multiply the awesomeness by a million! Unfortunately, that’s all the fun we had last night, because later there was just the action scene inside the tunnel full of walkers, where Glenn almost got Tara killed with his “brilliant” plan, but it wasn’t that exciting in the end.

twd415_02And what about Daryl and his new “friends”? Joe seems to be a pretty straight-forward guy, always going by the rules (if it’s claimed, it’s claimed!) and always telling the truth, so why not get along with him and forget about Beth for a minute? As I said, Daryl is not the same, and I don’t think this is going to end well for him. His childish fight against Len for that rabbit, and then Len trying to incriminate Daryl in that old garage for getting his piece of the rabbit just to be killed by the other members of the gang later, didn’t make too much sense at all. At least things will get a lot better when Joe finds Rick and gets his revenge (or not?) for what rick did in that house he was trying to relax a few episodes ago. Even Rick seems to be too calm, as per that brief moment he appeared in the episode watching Carl and Michonne play in the rails, but let’s hope next episode the good old sheriff is back in action doing what he’s supposed to do: fighting for his life, for Carl’s and for the people he cares about.

Finally, Glenn and Maggie are reunited (thanks to Eugene’s plan to drive to the other side of the tunnel), there’s that stupid scene burning that picture of Maggie (that was totally unnecessary), and after some useless talking they got to the promised sanctuary, Terminus, where they find that mysterious woman called Mary. But is that really a sanctuary? Doesn’t it look creepier than any other place they’ve been? At least it’s the season finale next week, which means something will actually happen, right? Because if not, the second half of season 4 will be indeed a total waste of time.

Us (FULL EPISODE)

The Walking Dead Review – Episode 414: The Grove

The Walking Dead is full of pecans, charred walkers, flowers, sorrow and death.

***WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS***

If you haven’t seen The Grove yet, I suggest you scroll down to the end of this post first and watch the entire episode before reading the rest of the text.

twd414_01Last night’s episode, The Grove, was probably one of the most sorrowful and depressing episodes of all seasons of AMC’s The Walking Dead, and by far the most stressful of season 4. This is something expected when you put together some characters with deep psychological issues (including two children), the heavy burden of carrying a little baby girl with absolutely no decent conditions to take care of her, and of course, some hungry charred zombies. However, I’m pretty sure the message is clear now for all of us and especially for most of the characters in the show: nowhere is safe, and even more important than that, the living are the real danger, not the dead.

First of all, kudos to the superb job done by Chad Coleman, Melissa McBride, Brighton Sharbino and Kyla Kenedy, especially to Melissa and Brighton for playing respectively the roles of an even more sorrowful Carol and a truly troubled Lizzie so brightly. The group of Tyreese, Carol, the two girls Lizzie and Mika and the baby Judith has been a great surprise so far: when everybody thought they were going to play a secondary part in the whole story, they deliver us a rollercoaster of emotions mixed with some desperate measures that made us forget this was the third episode in a row without Rick, Carl and Michonne, that Beth was kidnapped or even who Sgt. Abraham Ford is. We all knew Lizzie was some sort of lunatic, but what happened yesterday was really jaw-dropping, and it was something Tyreese and Carol will never ever forget in their painful post-apocalyptical journey.

Despite being sisters, Lizzie and Mika revealed themselves as complete opposites: while one cannot kill walkers, the other is truly afraid of having to kill someone alive; while one enjoys feeding rats to walkers, killing bunnies and playing catch-up with zombie “Griselda”, the other prefers playing with regular harmless dolls and eating pecans. Mika was so innocent and convinced that things were going to be just fine, that Carol got really mad at her for not being tougher nor ready to fight the dangers of that new world (which reminded Carol of her little Sofia when she was alive), but in the end it was Mika who was ready to face the new reality, not psycho Lizzie, and when Carol realized that it was too late for both of them.

All the sadness in this episode was so strong that not even the attack to their new “home” by those totally amazing charred walkers, some of the best zombies we’ve ever seen in the show, was able to make things more fun and easier to watch. That scene with the “crispy” zombies was awesome (and just after the episode was over I realized they were coming from the house Daryl and Beth set on fire, proving once again they’re all in the same place, but at a different time) and if it had happened at a different time, in another episode, it would have been epic. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a regular episode with some zombies just being killed; it was much deeper than that.

twd414_02Anyway, it seems that Carol is the character selected by the producers to do all the dirty work in the show: the moment she saw Lizzie with a knife and blood on her hands, and poor Mika dead on the ground, she already knew what needed to be done and that it was going to be her again. “She can’t be around other people.”, Carol said to Tyreese, and knowing that was the only thing they could do to avoid the same destiny for baby Judith, he sadly allowed Carol to end Lizzie’s life.  “Look to the flowers, Lizzie!”, were her last words (the ones always used when Lizzie had any type of psychological issues) to that poor disturbed kid, so disturbed she didn’t even think she was being punished for killing her own sister and for being a huge threat to any living person.

Not only that, after all that melancholy with the deaths of Lizzie and Mika, Carol had the guts to tell Tyreese she was the one who killed Karen. Maybe she knew he was going to forgive her, or maybe he already knew it was her after seeing her shooting Lizzie in cold blood, but she had to let him hear that from her own mouth in order to ease some of her suffering. Now maybe Tyreese’s nightmares with Karen will be over and he’ll get stronger to protect baby Judith and even Carol, or maybe their path to Terminus will be even more excruciating.

Finally, I don’t know how Carol has been able to handle all that pain until today, but I’m pretty sure things will just get worse for her, if that’s humanly possible. Because after losing all she’s already lost and doing all she’s already done, what’s left inside her that’s worth living for? Is Judith now her only reason to stay alive? What will happen when (or if) they find Rick?

The Grove (FULL EPISODE)

The Walking Dead Review – Episode 413: Alone

Bob is not alone anymore, and that’s more than enough to make him happy even in the middle of the apocalypse.

***WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS***

If you haven’t seen Alone yet, I suggest you scroll down to the end of this post first and watch the entire episode before reading the rest of the text.

twd413_01Would you rather be alone or surrounded by other people in a zombie apocalypse? What if you choose to be with others, then you learn to like them, love them and live for them, just to learn that one day you’ll lose them and things are going to be even worse than when you’re completely by yourself? In my opinion, those were the biggest questions The Walking Dead wanted to left to the fans after last night’s episode. There were no answers to other important things, like where Rick, Carl and Michonne are, what Terminus really is or what happened to Glenn, Tara and Sergeant Abraham, though.

This episode was almost totally focused on the relationship between Bob and Sasha, with the inclusion of Maggie as the “desperate wife looking for her husband”, and more stupid scenes with Daryl and Beth “trying” really hard to screw up everything. By the way, it looks like one of the fan-favorite characters is becoming more and more like a rebel teenager, instead of growing up and becoming a man like Carl is. Again, are the writers trying to get more attention from the young female audience that’s afraid of zombies, and just want to watch the show because of Daryl? That’s not a wise choice of what to do with a good character, not at all.

But let’s go back to Bob, our main character in “Alone”. We finally got to know something about his past: poor Bob was just another lonely soul in a post-apocalyptical world, totally by himself, hopeless, wandering through the woods and facing at the same time his issues with alcohol and lots of flesh-eating zombies. We all have to admit that situation would be among the worst ones for any person with a heart and a soul, right? That’s exactly what Bob acknowledged after the attack at the prison that almost left each survivor on his own. Bob knows he’s the only person inside the prison that didn’t lose a loved one during or after the battle, and now for the first time in his post-apocalyptical life he’s not alone. He said there was some kind of “curse” on him, that he’s always the only survivor of his group, but fortunately it seems his fate has changed after being accepted at the prison (the third group in his life). In the end, that’s a very good reason for him to keep smiling even amidst so much destruction and death, and even after almost being bitten by a walker he looked relaxed! Well, Bob knows loneliness can be a lot more painful than any zombie bite, no doubt about it.

On the other hand, it takes some time for Sasha and Maggie to realize that, and therefore we see them struggling with their hopes and fears for too much time, not sure where to go and what to do. Sasha is more like that type of survivor that just wants to find a place to sleep and rest for some time, and she doesn’t want to think about Tyreese’s fate not even for a second, so strong is her fear of having lost him forever, while Maggie is just worried about finding Glenn no matter what (and that includes using zombie guts to create signs for Glenn!). One thing that I cannot stop thinking about is: what happened to Maggie’s southern accent? She sounds a lot more British now, has anyone noticed that too? Anyway, by the end of the episode, and after killing a bunch of zombies in very gruesome ways, they are ready to head to Terminus and finally find out if their loved ones are there too.

twd413_02Last but not least, I truly didn’t want to talk about Daryl and Beth anymore after last week’s episode, but as the writers are focusing on that new “romantic duo” there’s nothing we can do about it. While they were at that mansion/morgue pretending life was normal and eating junk food even surrounded by dead corpses with weird makeup, I was wondering how that scene would have been with Merle instead of Beth. The “Dixon Brothers” would never have been so sloppy or reckless like that. Daryl has officially put his guard down after losing his big brother, and guess what? They were ambushed by a mysterious psycho, who kidnapped Beth while Daryl had to fight against dozens of zombies attracted to the house by that eerie person. That was extremely predictable, and making Daryl look like a “crying boy without his new girlfriend” after that didn’t work well. At least now Beth will face some real danger and maybe stop being so childish, and let’s hope Daryl turns all his despair and desolation into anger, gets back to the old days, and uses his famous crossbow to kill those mercenaries, especially the one who seems to be their leader. His name, by the way, is Joe.

Alone (FULL EPISODE)

The Walking Dead Review – Episode 412: Still

Daryl and Beth’s “special menu” had rattlesnakes and moonshine, but it wasn’t that tasty after all.

***WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS***

If you haven’t seen Still yet, I suggest you scroll down to the end of this post first and watch the entire episode before reading the rest of the text.

twd412_01Based on the extremely slow pace of all episodes after its mid-season finale last year, it looks like the second half of AMC’s The Walking Dead will continue to be focused on building the characters rather than putting them into serious and gory confrontations with hordes of zombies or armies of living people, and honestly, I don’t really like the way things are going on now.

Of course, I’ve always told my friends that we cannot expect the survivors to fight, kill and run away from zombies 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, otherwise they would all be dead by the end of the very first episode of the first season. However, spending an entire hour watching Daryl and Beth acting like two rebellious teenagers looking for booze felt more like a rip-off than anything else. I understand many fans where asking for more “details” about the hazy past of some characters such as Michonne and Daryl, but I wonder why now and why “wasting” entire episodes like that? Maybe producers are trying to reach another type of audience, people that enjoy knowing every single detail about the life of a character and that do not care too much about some real action, or even worse, that are afraid of zombies and blood. If they’re actually doing that, or if they’re just trying to extend the show as much as possible to make more money, they’ll end up losing a lot of their loyal fans pretty soon.

Anyway, let’s try to look at the good points of this episode and try to learn some lessons from it: as opposed to Rick, Carl and Michonne, who even found a good house to stay for a while, Daryl and Beth are living like real survivors, making fire out of almost nothing, hunting squirrels, eating rattlesnakes, collecting garbage, drinking dirty water, and sleeping or hiding basically anywhere. By the way, that initial sequence where they hide inside that car’s trunk for hours was excellent and should have been developed a little more, because the tension created was good but not marvelous. Getting back to the action, I believe their situation would be the most common one for lots of people in the case of a real zombie outbreak, because no survivor would be willing to rebuild anything: the human being main goal in that scenario would most probably be surviving no matter what, unfortunately looking a lot like real homeless people, which is a pretty sad but likely situation.

The other good point of this episode is that the human being is a lazy ass son of a bitch that prefers risking his life for stupid things like drugs and alcohol rather than trying to find a real way out of his problems. Looting what once was a fancy country club to find some booze because Beth wanted to have her first drink in life was totally absurd. I agree everyone would be dying for a beer after all they had to go through, but was that really necessary for their survival? Beth said we should all have an objective in life in order to actually live, and she’s right, but that craving for alcohol was way too stupid.

twd412_02Well, they ended up finding some disgusting peach schnapps, and later went to a place Daryl knew (well, it looks like they were not that lost in the end) to have some moonshine and some ridiculous drinking games together. As I mentioned before, they were acting like irresponsible teens, and they were lucky no horde of walkers was around to crash their private party. Beth might be growing as a character and even helping Daryl fight his ghosts from the past, but most of her ideas and decisions this episode were really awful.

And finally, later in the episode, Daryl cries and Beth hugs him from behind, for the total delight (or should I say despair?) of all women that watch the show just because of Daryl. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good scene full of emotion, but again I don’t think it’s time for that. I’m pretty sure every emotional girl is asking if that was the beginning of a great friendship or if it will evolve to something else, right? Personally, I don’t want to believe that the producers are going to create another romantic young couple in the show like Glenn and Maggie to pleasure the female audience, and besides, why didn’t they do it with Dayl when he was getting closer to Carol? Although I consider Emily Kinney a gorgeous woman and enjoy her character, Daryl and Carol seemed a lot more sincere and interesting together. Anyway, now that Daryl and Beth had some fun burning down a house, drinking alcohol and killing walkers, they got a lot closer and are living some kind of “fairytale”. But how long will they be able to survive like that before one of them freaks out or dies? For the sake of the whole show, I hope something (bad) happens to any of them soon.

Still (FULL EPISODE) 

The Walking Dead Review – Episode 411: Claimed

Will Rick ever have a true moment of peace again in his painful life?

***WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS***

If you haven’t seen Claimed yet, I suggest you scroll down to the end of this post first and watch the entire episode before reading the rest of the text.

twd411_01This was one of those episodes of AMC’s The Walking Dead that it’s hard to reach a consensus if it was good or bad. There was a lot of tension in some moments, some jokes that were not funny at all and could have been left out of the episode, and a detail that might change the whole course of the show but no one really cared about. Anyway, the biggest question in my mind after the first three episodes of the second half of season 4 is: when will our anti-hero/sheriff Rick Grimes have a single moment of peace again?

Before we get to Rick, let’s talk about the evolving friendship between Michonne and Carl. Although there were some really stupid moments, like Michonne trying to make Carl laugh by filling her mouth with Crazy Cheese, it’s nice to see Michonne is finally opening herself to someone, even if it’s a kid. Revealing the name of her long gone baby (Andre Anthony) to Carl was kind of a bold move for our katana girl, as well as protecting Carl from seeing the disturbing scene of the deceased family in that pink room. I’m not sure if getting too close to other people is the right thing to do in a zombie apocalypse (we’ve already seen plenty of examples that it’s not), but to me it seems Michonne is desperate for that, she can’t carry that burden inside her anymore, and Carl might be the best choice in her mind because she will never look less strong or less tough to him as she would to guys like Daryl and Rick. Let’s just hope she doesn’t let her guard down because of that, otherwise we’ll lose one of the best characters in the show.

Then come Rick and, consequently one more time in the show, tons and tons of tension and danger. Is he cursed somehow? It’s unbelievable the amount of pressure the sheriff has to face every single day now. When he finally finds a quiet and relatively safe place to heal his wounds, relax and even read a book, some dreadful assassins, psychopaths and rapists end up finding the exact same place! That was for me the highlight of the episode, even without a single walker involved, which again showed us who are the real threats in this new world. Rick might not have had his moment of peace yet, but his survival instincts are stronger than ever: even when surrounded by merciless killers, he managed to escape without even being noticed. Hiding under the bed, holding his breath and crawling to the other room without making any noise were awesome moves that saved not only Rick himself, but also Michonne and Carl in the end, especially when he decided to run away with them instead of starting a mini-war with those guys. Well, there was that guy in the toilet with his pants up, which makes no sense, but who cares? Killing him almost silently and setting up a “zombie trap” for when he got back as a walker seemed a smart move to distract those assassins, at least for a while.

twd411_02A few hours from where they were in the last moments of the previous episode, Glenn and Tara get to learn a little more about Sgt. Abraham Ford, Rosita Espinosa and Dr. Eugene Porter. No one can blame Tara for trusting Sgt. Ford (like she trusted the Governor) and hopping on the back of his truck, because anything would have been better than being alone in the middle of nowhere with a knocked-off Glenn, even without knowing if those people were good or bad. Talking about difficult decisions, Glenn’s semi-stupid idea of getting back for Maggie cost them the truck! I understand he’s desperate to find his wife, but fighting with the sergeant while the weird Dr. Eugene was all by himself with a machine gun trying to shoot the “zombies of the corn” was not a good idea at all. Glenn didn’t care that much about the truck and started his way back to “somewhere”: the truth is he doesn’t even know where to start, which means it’s just going to be another “trial and error” mission in the show. At least Glenn and Tara will have some backup, as the sergeant and his team decided to follow him, especially after Dr. Eugene said “Trust me.” to the sergeant when he decided to join Glenn in his quest. And the most important thing here, which was completely ignored by Glenn and Tara after all, is the fact that Dr. Eugene claims to know the reason for the zombie outbreak and also to have the solution for it. All they have to do is get to Washington with the doctor alive and well. But is it really worth a try? I mean, is the doctor telling the truth? Is there a cure, or is he just a complete lunatic? We’ll have to wait until they find Maggie (if they do so), and then see if they’ll get back on track to Washington.

Last but not least, Carl seemed really sad for “losing” Judith back in the prison, judging by his reaction after mentioning the name of his little sister while having breakfast with Michonne in the beginning of the episode, right? But it seems Rick, Carl and Michonne will soon find Tyreese, Carol, Lizzie, Mika and especially Judith at Terminus! Will that be one of the best moments of Rick and Carl’s post-apocalyptical lives, as we all expect? Maybe not if we think about what happened during Rick’s dramatic escape: was that guy in the bedroom really dead or had he just passed out? Because if they meet again somewhere, maybe (just maybe?) it will be at Terminus, and they won’t feel happy at all to see the sheriff after what he has done in that house. In my opinion, our sheriff’s well-deserved “vacations” are not going to happen so soon.

Claimed (FULL EPISODE)

The Walking Dead Review – Episode 410: Inmates

Hitchhikers may be escaping inmates, but The Walking Dead is definitely awesome.

***WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS***

If you haven’t seen Inmates yet, I suggest you scroll down to the end of this post first and watch the entire episode before reading the rest of the text.

twd410_01What an intense an fun episode to watch! After seeing what happened to Rick, Carl and Michonne, we had the pleasure to catch up with the rest of the crew, including some we thought were gone for good, and some new faces that I’m pretty sure the fans of the comics got really excited about. Not only that, what made this episode so cool was that all characters were almost at the same place but in a different time span, showing things are not going to be easy at all for the whole group to rejoin.

First of all, we see the duo of Beth and Daryl alone in the dark, in the middle of the woods, thinking about what happened to the others, what they were going to do by themselves. The beautiful part of this scene was the narration of Beth’s diary by Beth herself, when they first moved to the prison, as if the prison was their new sanctuary, as if there was some hope there. Well, we saw what happened in the mid-season finale and their situation now. However, it seems Beth is still hopeful, that she still believes the others are alive (and she’s right!), and because of her hope Daryl kind of wakes up from his total dismay. “If you don’t have hope, what’s the point of living?”, Beth said.

The next survivors are Tyreese, Lizzie and Mika. Oh, and for our total frenzy, baby Judith is with them! The blood Rick and Carl saw on her baby basket was from Tyreese’s arm, which was still bleeding by the way after all that time. In my opinion, Tyreese had the heaviest burden of all survivors by having to take care of two little girls and a baby, despite the fact that Lizzie killing little bunnies doesn’t make her so weak and fearful as her sister, right? And then, just to make things even more interesting, guess who’s back? The even more fearless Carol! Her one and only fear was the possibility of Tyreese wanting his revenge for Carol killing and setting fire to his girlfriend before being banished from the prison, but as he doesn’t know about that small detail, why bother? Let’s get all together, pretend nothing happened and go to the sanctuary called “Terminus”, which I’m pretty sure it’s not a good idea at all. For them, of course, but excellent for the Walking Dead fans!

twd410_02The third batch of survivors is composed by the always beautiful Maggie, the brave Sasha and the wildcard Bob, trying to find Glenn, but ending up facing the prison bus full of walkers. Maggie is about to snap, desperate for not finding Glenn anywhere, but then she sees what’s really going on: Glenn is not there. He probably escaped from the bus and is alive and well somewhere else, which makes her kind of happy. If only she could see where Glenn actually was, she wouldn’t feel that happy…

Because Glenn is still at the prison! He’s not fully recovered from the deadly flu, but he’s a lot better and strong enough to go back into the prison to find something that could help him escape from all the starving walkers outside. He gets his “comics” armor and helmet, a machine gun, and is ready to rumble in the middle of a big herd of zombies trying to bite him at all costs. On his way out, he sees poor Tara alone and hopeless inside a “cage” outside, without caring about anyone, not even about her own life. Fortunately, Glenn wakes her up and they both escape from the prison, and that was probably their farewell to it. From the bottom of my heart, the prison deserves a special tribute for being so strong and important to Rick’s team for a long time.

And finally, they might have escaped unharmed from the prison, but things are not going to get any better to them after meeting the fan-favorite Sergeant Abraham Ford and his crew, formed by the gorgeous Rosita Espinosa and the weird Dr. Eugene Porter. What are they going to do with Glenn and Tara? Are they going to take them to “Terminus”? Will “Terminus” be the new prison? What about Rick, Carl and Michonne, when are they going to meet any of the other survivors? Is it going to be at “Terminus” only? This is going to be awesome without a shadow of a doubt.

Inmates (FULL EPISODE)

The Walking Dead Review – Episode 409 (Mid-Season Premiere): After

Carl is growing up, while Michonne goes shopping for new pets.

***WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS***

If you haven’t seen After yet, I suggest you scroll down to the end of this post first and watch the entire episode before reading the rest of the text.

twd_409_01“After” all the killing and devastation from the previous episode, and of course after Rick’s whole crew was split in smaller groups of maximum three people, it was more than expected that the mid-season premiere of The Walking Dead yesterday was going to show us what happened to some or all of our beloved characters. Well, the first ones selected were our sheriff Rick, his son/savior Carl, and the badass Michonne, each one going through a complete different journey even being almost in the same place.

Although Rick was almost killed by the Governor and lost Judith to the walkers (or maybe someone else?), I believe Michonne’s path was the most arduous one here. First, our katana girl goes back to the prison in search for either a zombie Governor, a zombie Hershel, or any other zombies or survivors that might still be there after the war. The Governor was dead for good, and any glimpse of hope we might have had to see him as a walker was gone thanks to Lilly shooting him in the head (unfortunately , she didn’t miss the shot). However, Hershel’s head was still there, moving, trying to bite some fresh meat from a living person: a superb job done by Greg Nicotero’s team I should say, but another extremely sorrowful moment in the show. I don’t know which moment was more melancholic: if Michonne having to kill Hershel’s zombie head, or Daryl having to kill his zombie brother in the last season. Anyway, in the middle of all that suffering and destruction, Michonne chose to get back to her basics, which was symbolized by her two new “pets” and by her walking among the living dead as if they meant no danger at all.

That was the original Michonne we all got to know during the show, but then we were able to see a side of her character that everyone has been eager to know since day one: how she became Michonne. Not that she wasn’t Michonne before, but through her nightmare (which was a lot stronger than any flashback) we could see somehow what happened to her, how her life was before the zombie apocalypse, her child, her lover becoming a zombie, her katana mixed with regular kitchen knives, everything showing us how human she used to be. After that nightmare, she was about to go crazy, just wandering around like any walker, but fortunately the vision of a “zombie Michonne” (a zombie walking beside her that kind of resembled her) made her get back to reality, slay a whole herd of walkers, cry a lot, and choose to get back to her previous path with Rick and the others. It was amazing to see her “road to recovery”, and kudos to the awesome Danai Gurira for an outstanding performance.

twd_409_02And then, we have Rick and Carl. Or should I say an almost dead man walking and his angry son? Rick was horribly wounded and beaten, but even so he was worried about Carl and wanted to protect him. The problem is Carl didn’t see that: for him, his dad was pretty much dead, and every atrocity that happened to them and all the others was Rick’s fault. It was sad to see Carl blaming Rick for everything, while the guy was trying to stay alive with all his injuries, but that’s how a relationship between father and son has always been, right?

Anyway, Carl is growing up and becoming a man, facing zombies by himself and fighting as an adult even being just a kid. When he said “I win” to that pile of zombies he killed I’m pretty sure he was saying that to himself and to life in general, trying to prove to the whole world a new man was born. Of course there was that incident with that zombie that got his shoe, and that huge can of chocolate pudding, but we cannot blame him for acting like a teenager sometimes, even if it’s in the middle of a zombie outbreak.

And last but not least, that final scene with Rick moaning and crawling as a walker after being asleep for hours and hours, and Carl crying for not being able to shoot him, was really touching. Of course Rick was not dead and was not a zombie, we all knew that, but the mere thought of having to kill his own father was too much for a kid trying to be a man. Well, some people might ask why he was able to shoot his dead mother in the head, but not Rick, which is a damn good question. In my opinion, Carl couldn’t do it for a very simple reason: Rick is not only his father, but his hero, his protector, and his reason to live. Without Rick there’s no Carl, and vice-versa, and it will be really exciting to see how their relationship will grow in terms of loyalty, respect and love. And that, my friends, is how a boy becomes a real man.

After (FULL EPISODE)