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The Walking Dead: "Infected" (Season 4, Episode 2)

Walking Dead: “Infected” (Season 4, Episode 2)

So that creepy dead pig shot from last episode did signify something after all. There you go. Unfortunately, this episode, despite its plethora of faux frantic activity, felt flat. Sort of going through the motions of being terrorized by hordes of flesh-eating zombies. A life and death struggle phoned in.

We open with a picturesque shot of the moon. That quickly shifts to the round halo of a flashlight. Reasonably artistic. That then leads to someone feeding rats to walkers at the fence, presumably to lure them in.

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The Walking Dead: "30 Days Without an Accident" (Season 4, Episode 1)

Let’s see, a bucolic life in prison, it’s raining zombies, and twin tragedies to round all that out. All in all, a quite effective hour of television to launch the medium's gross savant of a series.

We open with a lovely picture of some plants, birds sweetly chirping in the background. Rick splashes his face with water from a barrel. Then he tends the soil. It’s a minute of paradise until he takes off his headphones and hears all the walkers snarling along the outer gate of the prison yard. The contrast is nicely staged.

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Falling Skies: "Brazil" (Season 3, Episode 10)

Pacing has been a problem with Season 3, and the finale was no different. Some of it was watchable, but the net result was an odd negation of the whole season.

Basically, they were clearing this season’s storyline out to make way for a new creative team, and it showed. We could have actually started Season 3 with this episode. The Volm could have landed and done exactly what they did in Episode 10 without nine intervening episodes of folderol about “the Volm weapon.” We were just marking time the whole season.

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Falling Skies: "Journey to Xibalba" (Season 3, Episode 9)

Xibalba, roughly translated as “place of fear” according to Wikipedia, was the underworld in K’iche’ Maya mythology. So there—who says you can’t learn something from watching mediocre science fiction TV? And mediocre it is this week, as we shift back to stories built around rubble and the magical Dr. Kadar.

Seriously, if you have a thing for rubble, this was your dream hour of television.

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Pacific Rim

Giant robots smashing giant Godzilla-like monsters. This is a dream movie for 12-year-old boys, so naturally I saw it with mine. And I have to say, Pacific Rim is a genuinely entertaining pile of nonsense. You can see the money up on the screen, and they’ve thrown just enough plot in to create heroes with angst, but not enough to bog things down.

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