The Walking Dead, Season Nine, Episode 16, “The Storm” Review: An Interesting Finale.

3 and a half stars
The Walking Dead 
season nine came to a close with its season finale this week, “The Storm”, in a surprisingly anticlimactic end to a fantastic season.
That is not to say “The Storm” was a bad episode but, compared to the other finales the series has had, the episode did not have that much of a climactic feel.
This does makes sense though, considering the episode is following the shocking pike scene from “The Calm Before.”
In fact, “The Storm” not only lives up to its name by a being a continuation of “The Calm Before” title, but by also featuring a snow storm, the first in The Walking Dead show’s history.
This is surprising when you look at how many snow storms have been in the comics, but hey, better late than never.
The previous lack of snow is more than made up for in this episode, with the snow storm being the main threat the characters face.
This new threat, combined with the characters dealing with the aftermath of the pike massacre make for some compelling moments.
For example, the scenes between Carol (Melissa McBride) and Ezekiel (Khary Payton) were touchingly tragic, with Henry’s death having driven them apart.

Ezekiel.jpg
It is tragic to see Ezekiel and Carol’s relationship plummet after the death of Henry and makes me wonder what the future holds for them.

It made for a sad contrast, with their relationship being established at the beginning of season nine, only for it to end in the finale.
The fall of the Kingdom basically represents the fall of their relationship.
Speaking of Carol though, the way she and Lydia (Cassidy McClincy) interacted was great.
I especially liked Lydia’s growth through her battle with suicidal thoughts in the aftermath of Henry’s death and being ostracized by many of the other survivors for her mother’s actions.
The big highlight of the episode though is definitely Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), with him taking another step towards his redemption.
After Judith (Cailey Fleming) is lost in a snow storm searching for Daryl’s dog, Negan is the first to give chase and eventually rescues her, even though he gets hurt.
His line that she “wanted more Negan time” was a great moment from him that showed the connection between the two.
It honestly feels like the connection Negan had with Carl in the comics, so I am glad the show found a way they could keep that alive, even with Carl being dead.

Negan
I am loving how Negan’s redemption arc is being played out in the show, especially Judith’s role in it. 

As for the rest of the episode, it was fairly standard.
With the Kingdom having fallen and the Sanctuary not living up to its name, the group are forced to make their way through Alpha’s territory to get to safety but nothing all that massive comes from it.
It is revealed later in the episode that Alpha (Samantha Morton) and the other Whisperers left for winter, however, this does not make much sense to me because wouldn’t it be winter everywhere else?
In any case, the scene with her and Beta (Ryan Hurst) is basically just a reminder that they are still in the story so does not offer much weight.
However, The final scene of the finale definitely does as someone attempts to communicate with the group on the radio they have set up.
I heard rumors that Rick would be on the radio so it was a bit disappointing to not hear his voice, but I am not going to let my expectations influence my opinion on the episode.

Rick
I was sad to realise Rick was not on the radio, however, we still have The Walking Dead movies, where he will appear, to look forward to. 

As to who was on the radio, there has been a lot of speculation.
Most people think it is Maggie and this is the way the show will bring her back, but I personally think it is Stephanie, who is a new character that will be in the next arc, after the Whisperers.
This means, when they are finally dealt with, we will be getting the Commonwealth arc, which I am kind of dreading because of how lackluster this arc has been so far in the comics.
Whatever the case, this cliffhangers is still better than many of the other ones we have had in the series.
I am looking at you “Last Day on Earth.”
Overall, “The Storm” is a decent season finale, and director Greg Nicotero did a good job with it.
Not a lot may have happened, but it was still better than some of the other season finales and was a good way to wrap up season nine.
And, with how great this season was, I am eager to see how season ten will turn out.

Rampage Review

two-and-a-half-stars
I remember playing the video game Rampage: Total Destruction on the PlayStation 2 when I was a kid and having a pretty good time with it.
From I can remember, it was a fun enough game to just shut your brain off and go and create carnage for about an hour.
Now, I will admit, it took me a while to realise Rampage was actually an adaptation of this video game series because, if I recall correctly, the game did not have animals turning into giant monsters but people.

rampage total destruction
I can remember playing Rampage: Total Destruction on the PS2, as kid.

Going into Rampage I expected to have fun with it as just a big dumb action movie.
What I did not expect, however, was to get a big dumb action movie with with a lack of satisfying action.
But that is exactly what I got.
Directed by Brad Peyton, Rampage stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as primatologist Davis Okoye who looks after the gorilla George.
However, when George is infected with a genetic editing virus and grows to monstrous size, along with a wolf named Ralph and a crocodile named Lizzie, Davis has to find a way to save his friend.
To this movie’s credit, it does have enjoyable moments.
Rampage can be pretty funny at times and the final action sequence is enjoyable, for the first 10 minutes at least.
Then there is Jeffrey Dean Morgan who plays Negan-oh, I’m sorry, I meant Agent Harvey Russel.
Seriously though, they might as well have just named this character Negan because Morgan is giving the exact same performance he gives in The Walking Dead.
That is not to say this is a bad thing though, since Morgan delivers a lot of the exposition in this film and his charisma makes what should have been boring scenes a lot more entertaining.

Rampage_NewLine_FrankMasi-SMPSP_2017_13444.dng
Jeffrey Dean Morgan might as well be playing Negan from The Walking Dead, but this does play to the movie’s advantage.

Apart from this however, the movie is a slog to get through.
The characters, except for Morgan’s, are boring and one dimensional, especially the villains who were so comically evil just for the sake of it.
The movie also requires a huge suspension of disbelief since the characters survive some of the most un-survivable things.
Characters surviving impossible things is a common cliche in action films but in Rampage they take this cliche to ridiculous extremes.
Then there is the action, which, let’s face it, is probably the reason most people are going to see this film.
Unfortunately, the action sequences do get very predictable, with one sequence having a jump scare that I knew was coming a full ten seconds beforehand.
I never thought I would get tired of giant monsters fighting each other but it felt like the final fight should have been cut by at least five to ten minutes, as well.
Overall, Rampage is just another video game movie, that meaning not very good.
It does have its moments of exciting action and good character moments, when Morgan is in the scene at least, but other than that it does not deliver that much of a punch.