The first week of December…and what a week it’s been! (SPOILERS)

I’m going to start with the Walking Dead, and I think we all know why! What an episode! I feel like I should have made one of those reaction videos as I now understand how Game of Thrones fans felt when viewing the Red Wedding episodes. For a while now I’ve been covering up my jealousy of those who hadn’t read the books under a veil of smugness at knowing what was to come. In reality I really wish I’d been able to experience the complete shock and mayhem that ensued post the airing of Red Wedding. Finally this need has been fulfilled as the latest episode of the Walking Dead left me dumbfounded and in dire need of a hug.

Having had time to process the episode and read a few reviews on it, I am finding more and more that people are delving far too deep into the narrative to find flaws in the storyline for the sake it. It’s really starting to irritate me. I just wish people would sit back, relax (or scream) and enjoy the journey/emotional roller-coaster the guys at The Walking Dead are taking us on. Chill out y’all!

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Several critics have noted that Hershel’s death was “cheap” and purely there for shock factor…lets be honest, this guy has been suffered and survived more than enough to justify a grizzly and hopeless death at the end of a samurai sword.  I think we can all agree that deep down, if any of the major cast members where taken out we would be shocked. Hershel has dodged the cold hands of death on more than one occasion (I refer you to missing limbs and a prison block full of potential walkers), and when you really look at who would be missed the most by fellow characters, it would be Hershel. Every single one of those characters has had a meaningful moment with Hershel, he has been the glue that has held the group together and stopped it from tipping over the edge every time it seemed collapse was inevitable. If anyone’s death was going to cause everything to fall apart, it was going to be his.

Others have taken issue with the Governors return to his sadistic ways, did we really have any doubt that this would happen? Are we really that quick to forget what he did in Woodbury? Throughout the proceeding episodes we’ve seen a “changed” Governor true, but I for one have never bought the complete turn around. I can’t help but admire the writers’ ability to keep me on edge about the Governor despite his seemingly loving approach to his new found family. Critics seem to have completely bought the turnaround, and I can’t work out how given his history. It can be said that we must sympathise with a man who has lost everything, but when you see a kid like Karl recover from killing his own mother its hard to find any excuse for The Governors actions. His ruthless execution of Hershel was absolutely a shock, but a shock that was beautifully crafted. As previously mentioned, no character’s death would have a deeper impact on the group than Hershel’s. The ensuing battle took us through a myriad of emotions and turmoil as our group fought for their lives. As the walker presence increased the more everything seemed to fall apart. The writers took us to the very edge of concern for each of our favourite characters, Daryl is flanked by a group of walkers (had he died there would have been riots), Rick is beaten to a pulp, Karl goes missing, so does his sister, the list goes on! But thank god for Daryl eh, what a hero! I particularly enjoyed this summary of the episode…

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Thankfully, after all this, I had How I Met Your Mother to calm my shattered nerves. A delightful episode wherein Barney engineers a fairytale rehearsal dinner for his bride to be. For me, this season has so far been a lot of “filler” to keep us watching until the climax. And it’s worked, I’m still watching. This season is still a long way off the laugh-out-loud hilarity of the first season, but I am enjoying it. But when a season promo is better than an entire season, its time to wrap it up methinks. I am confident that any whole created by this shows demise will be quickly filled by constant re-runs and the simple re-watchability of this great show!

There has been a lot more to the beginning of this month, but nothing has created as much of a stir as The Walking Dead did this week. Now its the long wait through a cold winter until the second half of the season beginning in February.

Thanks for reading.

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A thugs game played by gentlemen

Rugby Union, a term which often strikes fear and confusion into those who do not know the sport. When watching, you find yourself navigating rules and regulations that seem to make no sense, you cheer when other people cheer and yell when other people yell, and then spend the next five minutes listening to someone explain what just happened whilst more confusion ensues on the field. And somehow, even with an expert lesson on why those monsters on the field are jumping on each other you still have absolutely no idea what is going on…

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But I’m here to help, and to convince you not to settle for the simple theatricalities and pretty boy haircuts of football, give the noble game of Rugby Union a chance. It’s a sport that’s the perfect balance of sublime skill and bone-jarring hits as the fittest and fastest in the world smash each other to bits in an attempt to score as many points as possible to win the game. Sound appealing?

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When I was introduced to this wonderful game, I was taught 5 main rules and then from there everything made sense very quickly:

1. You can only pass the ball backwards. If it goes forwards, the big guys push each other around in a “scrum” for a bit to get the ball.

*Note: You can kick it forward, but don’t kick if you can’t kick or you are a forward.

2. If someone on the other team has the ball…hit him…hard!

3. To score lots of points, get the ball over the oppositions line…it has to touch the floor (none of this American Football rubbish).

4. Sometimes players are bad, and give up penalties, so someone will either kick the ball off the field for better territory or get points by kicking it through the the big H.

5. Forwards are the big (often ugly) blokes that get stuck in, the backs keep their shorts clean, make the forwards look silly and make everything else look pretty.

It’s really that simple. The other rules will make sense after a while, but if you remember these five things, you’ll be a pro in no time and actually start understanding why people are cheering and yelling at the tv. Hopefully this is happening to you right now…

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I know…now you feel a bit silly thinking it was so complicated all that time.

This weekend we have the mighty All Blacks, a team oozing talent and men who strike fear into the Rugby world, against England, a team steeped in tradition with the ability to topple the mightiest of rugby nations. Last year gave us one of the best games of rugby England have played in years and this year promises to be another juicy feast for you to sink your new-found rugby knowledge into. I’m actually a bit jealous that this might be the first game you ever see.

Tune in as these guys…

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…take on these guys…

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Why you NEED to catch up with the The Walking Dead

The old adage ,”don’t judge a book by it’s cover” comes to mind when thinking about The Walking Dead. The show’s title alone often immediately turns people off watching this apocalyptic-zombie-horror drama, suggesting to many this is nothing more than your standard, shoot-em up zombie show. However, I am here to tell you that you would be very wrong, and you would be making a grave (no pun intended) mistake, turning down this truly fantastic show. Hopefully by the time you finish reading this post I will have convinced you to grab that season 1 box set (possibly even the trilogy) and binge on one of the best shows in recent times.

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Aside from the superb week in, week out performances of the likes of Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus and Steve Yeun, this show offers a sophisticated and riveting plot-line and a fascinating study into the darker side of human nature in the face of adversity. We find very early on that the zombies are a mere window dressing to a much bigger picture, as the show successfully navigates the struggle of a group surviving in the dog-eat-dog world they find themselves in. More often than not we can go several episodes without seeing a zombie as the show focuses on the dangers the group poses to itself and how they chose to deal with love, loss, utter despair, betrayal and simply surviving. Thankfully, we have this guy to get us through all those “heart-in-mouth” moments.

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Admittedly, The Walking Dead has had it’s fair share of characters who’s story arc just involve them whinging or crying a lot in order to make things look a lot worse than they actually are, subsequently annoying viewers throughout. Thankfully, these characters tend to meet their doom in a manner that both satisfies the viewer and contributes immensely to the storyline and further heighten the pain and anguish of the surviving characters. This can often make us both whoop in delight and weep in sorrow all at once. This show is just one big emotional roller-coaster!

One minute you could be….

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The next you might be…

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Season 4 has, for me, been the pinnacle of the show so far and I am glad I stuck with it. I feel a sense of achievement and am under the distinct impression I have been rewarded for my loyalty. The first 5 episodes of this season have left me clutching a racing heart and desperately begging the man upstairs for the next week to pass quickly. Just last night I sat in stunned silence for a good five minutes after the credits rolled as I tried to recover from what I had just witnessed. The show has had its ups and downs, and there have been times where I might have given up were it not for the writers’ ability to reel me back in with a truly superb episode. This season, The Walking Dead is back with a vengeance as each episode has been better than the last. Rick’s back on form, Hershel and Glen have demonstrated their ability to be tough son’bitches and the group is being held together by a thread. And that ladies and gents, is why you should start catching up with The Walking Dead immediately!

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