TIME Television

Enough With the British Remakes, American TV!

LUTHER Series 3
Idris Elba plays John Luther in BBC America's Luther Robert Viglasky—BBC

Fox, a Luther adaptation and the Teletubbies school of TV-making.

Over the decades, Americans have learned many a thing from British TV. The UK import Teletubbies, for instance, showed us a truth about how toddlers enjoy stories. You show them something they like, they shout, “Again! Again!” Play it back, verbatim, and it’s as delightful to them as the very first time.

You could say that Fox’s decision to make an American adaptation of the moody British cop show Luther, produced by creator Neil Cross and original star Idris Elba, is an example of the Teletubby school of TV development. As with Fox’s Gracepoint, adapted extremely faithfully from the British Broadchurch–down to star David Tennant reprising the lead role with an American accent–the network found a striking, original work, already widely available to U.S. viewers, and shouted, “Again! Again!”

Sure, anyone with the slightest awareness of TV history knows that great US series have been adapted from UK originals. There were Norman Lear’s All in the Family and Sanford and Son, for instance, even if they were made at a time when Americans couldn’t press a button and stream Till Death Us Do Part or Steptoe and Son. It’s all about the execution–finding a new voice for the new series, and giving it its own specific sense of culture and of place. You may or may not think NBC’s The Office equalled the original, but it was its own thing, its tone adapted both to American office culture and its characters built for the longer-run format of an American network series. These shows, at their best, throw something new into the American TV melting pot.

But a story about a brooding, rough-edged, antihero cop? Do we have any other kind? Nothing against the original Luther, but going abroad to import that trope is like scouring the British Isles to find a Philly cheesesteak to adapt. Between this, Gracepoint, and its various Brit-import reality shows—and following last season’s failed remake of the Australian Rake—Fox will have as many replicas of overseas creations as the Vegas Strip.

Cross and Elba are very talented, and I don’t blame Fox for wanting to be in business with them. But talented people do their best work when they’re creating new things that they’re passionate about. If Fox must make its own Luther, I hope it finds a way to distinguish it both from the British original and the many similarly themed American crime dramas.

As American history teaches us, there’s nothing wrong with borrowing from the British. But you only come into your own after you’ve declared independence.

TIME Television

Dancing With the Stars Watch: The Semifinals Unplugged

BETHANY MOTA, DEREK HOUGH
Adam Taylor—ABC

Find out who made it to the finals

It was the semifinal round of Dancing With the Stars, and the five remaining couples had their work cut out for them — and not just getting into their skin-tight spandex costumes. Tonight, the semifinalists had to perform a classic DWTS routine followed by a slowed-down performance to an acoustic version of the same song. At the end of the night, one person goes home and the rest advance to the finals, which are efficiently spread out over two nights next week.

Here’s what happened in the semifinal round of Dancing With the Stars:

Sadie Robertson and Mark Ballas: Last week, the judges completely missed the fact that Sadie miffed the last minute of her routine, but Sadie knew in her heart she had screwed up and cried on Mark’s shoulder. This week, she hit the floor in head-to-toe sequins and managed to perform a quick step to Ariana Grande’s “Problem” without a single, yep, problem. Head judge Len Goodman was “disappointed” with the routine “because there was nothing [he] didn’t like about it.” 37/40, including a 10 from Len, but mostly because she bribed him with this photo.

Tommy Chong and Peta Murgatroyd: Tommy had his bags packed to leave last week, but at 76 years old he made it to the semifinals to dance a jazz routine with a leather-and-lace-clad Peta to “Tainted Love.” Beats retiring to Boca, eh? Len admitted that he couldn’t have done what Tommy just did on the dance floor, while Bruno Tonioli gave the credit to Peta, whom he referred to as “a human defibrillator.” Maybe she should make herself available to the Red Cross? 28/40

Bethany Mota and Derek Hough: After their excellent scores in last week’s threesome round, Derek decided to relive the magic by bringing in troupe member Sasha for a fast-paced and fall-themed samba to the Jackson Five. But before he came up with that sorta-not-really brilliant idea he had a rehearsal meltdown and Bethany had to talk him down from his creative ledge. After the routine that Len called “cotton candy,” Derek’s sister Julianne suggested that he “get out of [his] head” and stop overthinking the routines, which is good advice that Derek will probably ignore. 36/40

Janel Parrish and Val Chmerkovskiy: Val imported his big brother Maks for a rehearsal-room pep talk and an adorable Chmerkovskiy brother spin across the dance floor. Val is really worried that he’s getting older and hasn’t won a Mirror Ball yet and is determined to make a real go at it with Janel. To wit, he delivered a black-clad dramatic paso doble to Calvin Harris’ “Blame.” The second it ended, the crowd was on its feet cheering, and Carrie Ann Inaba was begging for more. Len was worried that Maks was going to be a bad influence on Val, but even Len was impressed with the chic routine. 40/40

Alfonso Ribeiro and Witney Carson: Alfonso told TIME last week that the biggest question mark about this competition was whether his body would hold up for the rest of his run. Last week, while attempting to protect his groin injury, he injured his back and ended up at the doctor, who urged him to give his body a break. Instead, he hit the dance floor for an Argentine tango. The judges admitted that they could tell he was in pain while he danced, but threw around lots of words like fighter and tough while Alfonso cried actual tears and swore he was going to make it through the next dance. Carrie Ann encouraged to “go safe, but go hard” in the next round. 36/40

Sadie and Mark, Part II: For the big push into the finals, Sadie called in the troops, and the entire Duck Dynasty crew came out for the video package, which also included clips of baby Sadie preaching about her love of God. For their Argentine tango, Mark kept it PG-rated by keeping a guitar between them at all times, which was an odd but effective chaperone for the couple. Len was not impressed by the guitar maneuver, but Utah girl (and Flashdance star) Julianne understood the need to be chaste. For her part, Sadie thinks she’s matured a lot over the course of the nine-week competition. 36/40

Tommy and Peta, Part II: For his video package, Tommy’s wife and children, including Rae Dawn Chong, naturally, talked about how proud they are of their dad. Then his comedy partner, Cheech, reminded the world that Tommy is just really freakin’ awesome. After that lead-in, there was no way he couldn’t deliver on the dance floor. Their Christmas-toymaker-themed rumba to “Tainted Love” was one of those only-on-Dancing With the Stars moments. Peta played a snow-globe doll that came to life to dance with her velvet-clad toymaker — and it kind of worked? Julianne, who is Tommy’s biggest booster, thought it was “magical,” “awesome” and “so great” and almost broke into tears. Carrie Ann was crying by the end of the routine, tears were rolling down Peta’s face and Erin Andrews was all choked up too. 34/40

Bethany and Derek, Part II: Bethany was bullied before she found her voice on YouTube, and in her video package, her family recounted her tough years. Luckily, it clearly all turned out well, because Bethany is now dancing with a shirtless Derek on national television. Their contemporary routine was set to a surprisingly haunting acoustic version of Jackson Five’s “I Want You Back.” Bruno said the routine belonged in an art gallery and called it a “modern masterpiece” and Carrie Ann said she “didn’t want to blink” so she wouldn’t miss a moment. 40/40

Janel and Val, Part II: Janel’s family left Hawaii so Janel could follow her dreams of acting and dancing, which is probably a lot of pressure for a young girl, but she finally got a job as Mona on Pretty Little Liars, so all’s well that ends in paychecks. The band Time for Three (with a guest appearance by Val on violin!) performed a string version of Calvin Harris’ “Blame” to accompany their Argentine tango. The routine was filled with fluid movements and jaw-dropping lifts (made even more jaw-dropping by the fact that Janel performed them in a low-cut, high-cut sparkly lace dress). Len thought they put the “oo in mood” and confirmed that she is an incredible dancer, but Lift Police Carrie Ann thought the transitions between the lifts were rough. 38/40

Alfonso and Witney, Part II: If there was ever going to be a moment for the Fresh Prince himself to come out and support his “brother” it would be now, but apparently Will Smith is just too busy. Alfonso did however get Ricky Schroeder to show up and remind us that he was on Silver Spoons. Plus, his Bel Air sisters Tatyana Ali and Karyn Parsons and butler Joseph Marcell showed up to recount some behind-the-scenes moments from the Fresh Prince set. Then, for absolutely no reason other than to entertain, well, me, former Vice President of the United States Dan Quayle endorsed Alfonso for Mirror Ball holder. Once on the dance floor, Alfonso’s and Witney’s contemporary routine to Christina Grimmie’s cover of One Republic’s “‘Til The Love Runs Out” was the dance equivalent of the satin pajamas they wore for the number — fluid, shiny and easy on the eyes. 39/40

In jeopardy: Unfortunately for Alfonso, he has to return next week and continue to watch his body crumble. Also headed to the finals are Bethany and Derek, and Janel and Val. That left Sadie and Tommy in jeopardy.

Who went home: Tommy Chong. While it was always fun to watch Tommy dance, he remained on the show due to his charm and humor, more than talent. His departure before the final is no real surprise, but no less sad.

Best reason to come back next week: It’s the finals, and someone is taking home the Mirror Ball trophy.

Read next: Alfonso Ribeiro Talks About Heading to the Semi-Finals on Dancing with the Stars

TIME Television

HBO Creepily Announces Westworld Series Starring Anthony Hopkins

"Noah" Press Conference
Anthony Hopkins at the "Noah" Press Conference at the Four Seasons Hotel on March 24, 2014 in Beverly Hills. Vera Anderson—WireImage

Jonah Nolan and J.J. Abrams court an all-star cast for the highly anticipated sci-fi western

HBO has officially green lit Westworld, a futuristic drama starring Anthony Hopkins, for 2015. The premium cable network made the announcement Monday via a creepy Vine posted to its Twitter account:

The show, based on Michael Crichton’s 1973 film of the same name, will center on an adult amusement park that is filled with lifelike robots. Stars are flocking to the project, according to The Hollywood Reporter, because of the juicy acting opportunity to play many different characters in a single season, as the plot involves robots that are killed off and return with completely different personalities.

So far James Marsden (X-Men), Ed Harris (A Beautiful Mind), Evan Rachel Wood (The Wrestler), Thandie Newton (The Pursuit of Happyness) and Jeffrey Wright (Casino Royale) will join Anthony Hopkins in the show. Unlike HBO’s all-star True Detective, which tells a new story with new actors every season, actors on Westworld will sign multi-season contracts. This will be Hopkins’ first series regular role ever.

Penned by married writing duo, Jonathan Nolan (Interstellar) and Lisa Joy (Burn Notice), Westworld will be produced by Nolan and J.J. Abrams. The series comes as HBO wraps three of its dramas this year: Boardwalk Empire, True Blood and The Newsroom.

TIME Parenting

Woman Sues Peppa Pig Producers Over Goat That Shares Her Name

Peppa Pig rides her bicyle in a scene from one of the "Tickle U" series of cartoons.
Peppa Pig rides her bicyle in a scene from one of the "Tickle U" series of cartoons. Cartoon Network/AP

Grown woman says she's been mocked because she shares a name with a children's character

An adult Italian woman who shares a name with an animated goat in the popular Peppa Pig children’s series is demanding €100,000 ($124,500) in compensation from the show’s producers because she’s been “teased” about it.

Gabriella Capra, 40, is suing London animation firm Astley Baker Davies for damages after she was mocked by her presumably adult friends for sharing a name with “Gabriella Goat,” a minor character in a television show aimed at toddlers.

“Capra” means “goat” in Italian, so when the series was broadcast in Italy, “Gabriella Goat” became “Gabriella Capra,” the Guardian reports.

In the show, Gabriella Goat is a friendly Italian goat who shows Peppa Pig around when she and her family visit Italy on vacation. She is also the niece of Uncle Goat, who makes pizza. She bleats, because she is a goat.

Capra says she will donate any damages to charities for abandoned children.

[The Guardian]

 

TIME Television

Andy Cohen’s Memoir Is the Frankest Book About Gay Life In Years

Andy Cohen
Charles Sykes—AP

The Bravo host and Real Housewives expert reveals even more than he knows in The Andy Cohen Diaries

An unexpectedly great new work of gay literature has come from an unlikely source: The guy who runs the Real Housewives franchise.

Andy Cohen, a former Bravo executive and current host of that network’s talk show Watch What Happens Live, doesn’t have the exalted public profile of Alan Hollinghurst or Colm Tóibín. And yet through radical candor, he’s accidentally created a remarkable book about a specific sort of gay life in the 2010s. The Andy Cohen Diaries, which came out last week, is by no means universal, but it’s an important text when it comes to understanding what it is to be a gay man today.

Cohen writes that he’d been inspired by The Andy Warhol Diaries in documenting his comings and goings each day. But the glamour of Warhol’s Studio 54 era has been somewhat degraded in the intervening years, and Cohen is, indeed, a working stiff: He has to tape five shows a week. He exhaustively documents the YouTube clips he watches (Britney Spears videos, Sandra Bernhard comedy routines), the famous friends he sees (mainly Kelly Ripa, Anderson Cooper, and Sarah Jessica Parker, with occasional cameos by Madonna and John Mayer), and his pastimes (casual sex and weight obsession).

It’s in the latter category that the book becomes resonant and sadder than the author may even realize. Each day is either a victory or a defeat for Cohen, measured alternately in hours at the gym or hors d’oeuvres eaten and drinks consumed. At one point, he meets his goal weight, and then revises that goal weight yet again lower; a litany of fattening foods he is ashamed to have eaten at a party hilariously and tragically includes the addendum “and a Popsicle.”

Many readers might not treat ice pops as a shameful indulgence. And yet many readers aren’t trying to prove their value in a marketplace in which superheroic body proportions win the day. Cohen’s obsession with his appearance — endless documentations of squats and the inevitable “two-hour massage” that follows — are of a piece with a wealthy, urban, privileged gay life that more intellectual or explicitly political novels are loath to expose in such detail. Cohen’s world is not that of most or even of many gay people, but it’s one that really exists and that hasn’t recently gotten this much attention in print.

Cohen’s book is packaged as a passport into the world of celebrity, and he’s gratifying in his say-everything treatment of stars; devoted readers of celebrity gossip will appreciate his lack of patience for fitness guru Jillian Michaels and reality star Kate Gosselin, as well as his attempts to further stoke a feud between Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. This is admirable and befuddling in equal measure: Cohen’s professional life runs on access to stars, access that seems apt to run dry if he stays this candid. It may also mess up his relationships with his coworkers: Cohen, befuddled by a production assistant’s overt masculinity and ignorance of Real Housewives divas, calls the fellow “Straight Pat” until he’s informed that Pat is gay. The universal language Cohen once relied on is gone, though Pat is menschy enough not to ding his boss for harassment.

But in reading his treatment of himself, it becomes clear that for Cohen, saying everything is the only option. And through his treatment of his own love life, one defined by Tinder dates with significantly younger men, a certain conundrum becomes clear. Cohen is at the very tail end of a generation that grew up assuming that socially sanctioned long-term relationships would always be impossible. He’s torn between impulse — a string of twentysomething objects of affection — and what he has very recently learned he ought to be doing, looking to settle down. His adoption of a dog is fairly explicitly an attempt to bridge a gap, to have a family life while still staring at every “very built” guy in his path. A moment where Cohen asks a flight attendant to get him a plane’s passenger manifest so he can look up a “husband material” fellow traveler is played for laughs that belie the darkness. And he forgets the name, anyhow, because he’s so distracted by Madonna’s presence on the list.

The conundrum many gay people face — having been told more suddenly than anyone could have predicted that marriage and family life is not only possible but, indeed, preferable — plays itself out movingly through the pages of The Andy Cohen Diaries. It’s a wearying read at times: Every day a new fixation on a man, and every day a meditation on how Cohen will shed that stubborn body fat. But it’s also valuable insight on what it means to grow older in a rapidly changing gay scene. It’s impossible to imagine Stephen Colbert or Jimmy Fallon, the straight late-night stars significantly ahead of Cohen, writing a book anything like this — and that’s precisely why it matters.

TIME Television

Unfortunately, John Oliver, You Are a Journalist

Oliver, at right, interviews Stephen Hawking HBO

But who can blame him for not wanting to say so?

The latest sign that John Oliver has become the peer of his old boss Jon Stewart is that he now has to spend time declining honorifics that other people want to hang on him. In an interview with the New York Times’ David Carr, he laughed off the suggestion that he was pursuing “a kind of new journalism”:

We are making jokes about the news and sometimes we need to research things deeply to understand them, but it’s always in service of a joke. If you make jokes about animals, that does not make you a zoologist. We certainly hold ourselves to a high standard and fact-check everything, but the correct term for what we do is “comedy.”

Strictly on the basis of language, I have to applaud Oliver for rejecting the label of “journalism.” Though I’ve often used it myself for lack of a better catchall word, it’s a stupid word, used to lend an air of professional respectability to jobs that we should just describe directly: writing, reporting, analysis, criticism, opinion and so on.

There’s a kind of protesting-too-much, this-is-so-a-real-job overtone to the word. There’s also an element of judgment: journalism is not just reporting, but reporting of which I approve; not just non-fiction writing or speaking, but nonfiction writing or speaking that I deem worthy of respect. That’s probably, as with Jon Stewart in the past, the popular reading of the term that Oliver balks at. If he accepts the label journalist, he sounds full of himself, and that’s the death of comedy.

But if we’re going to use the term journalism at all, I don’t see how it doesn’t apply to the work done by Oliver and Last Week Tonight. (Which, incidentally, is produced by onetime magazine writer Tim Carvell, who years ago edited some pieces of mine at Fortune.) There’s far more to news and nonfiction today than who-what-where-when-why reporting. One of the biggest growth fields is “explainer journalism”–analyzing data and walking an audience through complex issues, often done with a distinct point-of-view, at outlets like Vox and FiveThirtyEight. [Update: For an in-depth comparison of Oliver’s work with that of people who actually call themselves journalists, see The Daily Beast’s Asawin Suebsaeng.]

That’s journalism; a news analysis is journalism; an editorial is journalism. The chief difference between these and what Oliver does, if anything, is that he’s entertaining, so that, when he spends fifteen minutes arguing the stakes of net neutrality, people actually pay attention and even act on it. If that makes it “not journalism,” then it’s journalism that has the problem.

Not that I blame Oliver for avoiding the label. When someone calls Oliver, Stewart or Colbert a journalist, it’s often because that person wants something–for the hosts to commit themselves to a certain cause or to declare neutrality; for them to commit to a certain seriousness of purpose; for them to accept their “responsibility,” however the labeler defines it; for them to fit into some one-size definition of how a journalist should behave and what they should care about. That would definitely kill Oliver’s comedy, and along with it his–well, analysis or advocacy or whatever you want to call it.

So yes, John Oliver is a “journalist” as much as anyone in this business is. But I can understand why he needs to stay undercover.

TIME Television

Watch Allison Williams Sing in the New Peter Pan Live! Trailer

The Girl who wouldn't grow up

The newest trailer for NBC’s live production of Peter Pan is out, and it features just the tiniest clips of singing from Allison Williams (as Peter) and sing-song talking from Christopher Walken (Captain Hook.)

The televised live musical is set to follow up on last year’s live production of The Sound of Music, which snagged over 18 million viewers despite mixed reviews (and even though nobody was flying).

Peter Pan Live! is scheduled to air on NBC Dec. 4

 

 

TIME Television

Katherine Heigl’s State of Affairs May Not Save Her Reputation

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles (BBBSLA)
Katherine Heigl attends Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles (BBBSLA) at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. on Oct. 24, 2014. Faye Sadou—UPA/Retna/Corbis

The actress deserves to play a character, not just a collection of cute traits

So this is her comeback.

Katherine Heigl’s return to television, State of Affairs, which debuts on NBC tonight, is the latest stage in Heigl’s ongoing, humiliating apology tour of America. The show, notionally about a tough CIA analyst who’s working to avenge her slain lover, is as much an attempt by Heigl to resuscitate her own flatlined reputation. Time will tell, but it seems Heigl may have more work to do.

The actress’s rise to prominence, as a star of Grey’s Anatomy and the lead actress in Knocked Up, was seeded with the elements of its own decline. Heigl was charmingly plainspoken in a way that made her perhaps the best interpreter of Shonda Rhimes’s dialogue we’ve ever seen. That plainspokenness also resulted in a series of P.R. fiascoes including her criticizing the writing of both of her starmaking projects, Grey’s for not giving her good material and Knocked Up for perceived sexism. Attempts to rebuild her reputation via magazine covers in which Heigl apologized to America seemed somehow ungenuine, or less nourishing than picking apart Heigl’s statements. (If Knocked Up’s sexism prompted Heigl to speak out, how could she go on to promote the arguably far more offensive movie The Ugly Truth?) Heigl’s performance in State of Affairs is her first since an independent film in which she appeared failed to meet its crowdfunding goals for distribution.

This has all been told before, a story that unfolded so long ago that recent schadenfreude over Heigl appearing in a ZzzQuil ad or her suing the pharmacy chain Duane Reade for tweeting photos of her shopping there felt past its expiration date. But even though Heigl’s perceived rudeness or “ingratitude” is an old narrative, it’s inflected every aspect of her publicity tour around the show. In every interview, Heigl is forced to contend with the old stories about her. She said in a Facebook Q&A: “Of course just like any human being I’ve made mistakes and unwittingly or carelessly spoken or acted but I always try to make any wrong right.” She told a group of reporters the same at a press conference ostensibly intended to celebrate her show.

The tentativeness around Heigl’s image problem inflects State of Affairs, a show without the courage to be much of anything. The show it is most evidently inspired by, Homeland, took advantage of Claire Danes’s relative lack of a public profile to build a lead character who was, from the get-go, a ball of contradictory impulses and all-too-human frailties. Heigl’s character on State of Affairs, Charleston Tucker, is a bundle of would-be-endearing quirks from her name on down, from the utter nobility of her animating passion (getting back at those who killed her love interest, who also happened to be the president’s son) to the mild snark she bats around idly with her coworkers to her lovely but unrealistic wardrobe of body-conscious dresses and leather jackets. She goes to a bar to pick up a stranger for sex, but the show frames this not as character trait but tragic biographical detail: Charleston only uses her vices as a manner of distracting from the loss of the true hero she deeply loved.

State of Affairs represents an attempt to frame a star in her best light: The only consistent thing about Heigl’s character from moment to moment is that when she’s in the frame, everyone else is totally focused on her. It’s as though if by telling us Charleston was all things — weak and strong, crude and high-minded, compromised and noble, incapacitatingly heartbroken and wildly competent — every viewer might be able to pick out an an aspect of Heigl they’d liked in the past, and she’d return to prominence.

But so far, Heigl’s project only reminds viewers, sadly, of how good she’d been on TV in the past — when she played a real character with concrete motivations, one whose every misstep didn’t need to be bolstered by an equal and opposite positive quality. If Heigl wants to get back in America’s good graces, she needs to be unafraid to go there. It may unfair to read State of Affairs as a bid to be liked again — but in the absence of a real character, Heigl, and her persona, is all we have to grab onto. That persona may not be deserved, but Heigl gives us nothing, here, to prove it wrong.

TIME Recaps

The Walking Dead Watch: ‘Consumed’

Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier - The Walking Dead _ Season 5, Gallery - Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC
Carol: Woman on fire. Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC—© AMC Film Holdings LLC.

It's a ballad of the badasses as Carol and Daryl go on the hunt. Also, falling zombies redefine purple rain

“Consumed,” the sixth episode of the fifth season of AMC’s The Walking Dead, is a slow burn. The good kind—one of the series’ occasional faults is whiplash-inducing gear shifts—in which we get to watch Carol and Daryl go on the hunt for Beth.

The adventures of this Butch and Sundance (or is it Thelma and Louise?) are interspersed with vignettes from Carol’s recent past, starting with her being fromerly ostracized from the group by Rick for her draconian problem-solving style. (It’s not quite the same as being cast out of paradise but, in their world, likely the closest thing to it.) This is supposed to remind us, I think, of Carol’s character arc over the course of the last five seasons, from cowed, battered wife to lone-wolf badass.

Carol and Daryl are a captivating pair. Both are outsiders, at times morally righteous and at others nihilistically resigned. Both have lost the most important person to them, Daryl his brother and Carol her daughter. Both are damaged goods, in other words, and as such have formed a particularly strong bond to each other. The question is, is it romantic?

By the normal rules of television, it shouldn’t be. In the book, Andrea and Dale have a completely believable romantic liaison, despite their age difference. In the television series, partly because of casting, that idea is laughable. “Consumed” is particularly compelling for teasing out the “what’s up with us?” quality of the friendship. This teasing includes a moderately awkward scene about who’s going to sleep on the top bunk and a dialogue in which Carol says to Daryl, “You were a kid, now you’re…a man.”

Otherwise, the episode consists mainly of the duo making their way through a ruined Atlanta—a family shelter familiar to Carol from her past, abandoned and luxurious legal offices, sky-bridges full of walkers squirming in sealed sleeping bags like fussy mummies—looking for the hospital tribe holding Beth. Throughout, they carry on a philosophical discussion of the weight of the past, the meaning of survival, and the epistemology of identity. You know, the usge. It’s a little like the School of Athens—with zombies—or Before Sunrise—with zombies. (Or, maybe even better, a level in the Last of Us.)

Along the way, they scavenge for supplies in a van teetering on the edge of a freeway overpass. When the vehicle gets over run by walkers and, ultimately, pushed off the edge, the two just barely survive the fall. The undead following off the ledge like lemmings and splattering all around gives new definition to purple rain.

Eventually, they run into Noah, the orderly Beth helped escape two episodes ago. At first, he steals their weapons, but later, Carol and Daryl catch up to him and they join forces, trading information about where Beth is being held. Having resolved to go save Beth, Carol is unexpectedly hit by a car and taken to the hospital in question. Daryl and Noah steal a truck and presumably head back to the church to get reinforcements.

All of this, it seems, sets us up for The Walking Dead’s familiar dynamic, it’s cruising speed of warring tribes girding for conflict. But this time, the battlefield—a megalopolis teeming with walkers—promises much more danger.

Zombie Kill Report
1 run over by car by Daryl; 1 knife to skull by Carol; 1 arrow to the head by Daryl; 4 sharp object to the head by Carol and Daryl; 1 knife to the face by Daryl; 3 gunshots to the head by Carol; 1 knife to the head by Daryl; 3 machete chops to the head by Daryl; 1 arrow to the head by Carol.
Estimated total: 16

The Window Metaphor
When Daryl and Carol are holed up in the shelter, they come upon a mother and child who have turned, clearly an echo of Carol and Sophia. The walkers claw at a door made of frosted glass. This is a recurring metaphor this season: the lines, whether opaque or completely clear, that separate the living from the undead. Progressively louder, the show’s writers seem to be asserting, “Walkers, they’re just like us.”

TIME Television

Hunger Games Cast Parodies Taylor Swift’s ‘Blank Space’ on SNL

Three highlights from Saturday's episode, hosted by Woody Harrelson with special appearances by Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth

Woody Harrelson volunteered as tribute to host Saturday Night Live a few days before the The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 movie hits theaters, and he got by with a little help from his friends. Costars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth stopped by Harrelson’s opening monologue to help joke about the actor’s hazy memory and the first time he hosted the late-night sketch show — in the year 1989, which prompted a parody sing-along to 1989 singer (and TIME cover star) Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space.”

Watch his opening monologue, above, and catch two other highlights from the episode, which featured musical guest Kendrick Lamar, below.

“The Dudleys”: A sketch about a sitcom family that’s constantly recast to quell Internet outrage poked fun at television’s diversity problem and featured a cameo from Orange Is the New Black‘s “Crazy Eyes” (Uzo Aduba).

“Young Tarts & Old Farts”: Inspired by Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett’s recent duets album, Cheek to Cheek, the writers of Saturday Night Love dreamed up some other odd musical collaborations, including Ariana Grande and Lionel Richie; Macklemore and Diana Ross; Meghan Trainor and B.B. King; Aretha Franklin and Robyn; and Elton John and Blue Ivy Carter. Of course, mismatched, generation-spanning collaborations have become a classic SNL trope, most memorably in a 1982 parody of the song “Ebony and Ivory,” in which Joe Piscopo’s Frank Sinatra sings to Eddie Murphy: “You are black, and I am white. Life’s an Eskimo Pie, let’s take a bite.”

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