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The Walking Dead Recap Season 7, Episode 14, "The Other Side"

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The Walking Dead Recap: Season 7, Episode 14, "The Other Side"

Gene Page/AMC

The Walking Dead Recap: Season 7, Episode 14, "The Other Side"

The absence of dialogue in the scenes before the opening credits of this week's episode of The Walking Dead, “The Other Side,” makes Maggie (Lauren Cohan) seem nearly iconic: a legend in the making. Throughout these scenes, she teaches knife-throwing and does that benevolent-leader thing of acknowledging people by placing a reassuring hand on their shoulder. It's good to see her, since she's been absent from the last few episodes, and particularly gratifying to see her looking good, almost as happy and loose as Rick and Michonne did during their extended supply run in “Say Yes.”

The Walking Dead Recap Season 7, Episode 9, "Rock in the Road"

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The Walking Dead Recap: Season 7, Episode 9, "Rock in the Road"

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The Walking Dead Recap: Season 7, Episode 9, "Rock in the Road"

If The Walking Dead were a boxer, it'd be hit-like-a-hammer George Foreman, not float-like-a-butterfly Muhammed Ali, so the sly head-fake that opens “Rock in the Road” throws us surprisingly and effectively off balance. The episode starts where the midseason finale left off: outside at night in Alexandria with Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) just after an as-yet-unidentified stranger, whose face we've yet to see, leaps down from the wall where he or she was spying on him. The ominous memory of that mystery stalker—not to mention the show's penchant for blowing up any post-apocalyptic community that starts to feel safe or stable—primes us for mayhem, as Gabriel finishes pondering a passage in his Bible and heads into the supply room. So when the camera lags behind him as he rounds a corner, the sudden clatter registers as the sounds of a struggle until the camera catches up and Gabriel is seen loading up on canned goods and tools that could double as weapons, which he then puts in the trunk of a car that he drives off into the night.

The Walking Dead Recap Season 7, Episode 5, "Go Getters"

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The Walking Dead Recap: Season 7, Episode 5, "Go Getters"

Gene Page/AMC

The Walking Dead Recap: Season 7, Episode 5, "Go Getters"

One of the things that has kept me loyal to The Walking Dead over the years is its matter-of-fact feminism. Some of the best fighters and most strategic thinkers in Rick's (Andrew Lincoln) gender-neutral meritocracy have always been women, and they were usually toughened up by the kinds of trials that all too often turn women into skilled survivors, like the spousal abuse Carol endured or the loss of an adored child that galvanized Michonne (Danai Gurira), a somewhat passive and subordinate housewife, into becoming a latter-day ninja. Even Paula, the Savior who captured and nearly killed Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Carol in season six, gained our respect—and a soul-sister acknowledgement from Carol—for her focused ferocity after we learned that she had been a mousy, abused secretary in the pre-walker world who seized on the apocalypse as her chance to stop eating so much as one more morsel of paternalistic shit, even from her own men.

The Walking Dead Recap Season 6, Episode 11, "Knots Untie"

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The Walking Dead Recap: Season 6, Episode 11, "Knots Untie"

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The Walking Dead Recap: Season 6, Episode 11, "Knots Untie"

“Your world is about to get a whole lot bigger,” says Jesus (Tom Payne) to Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Michonne (Danai Gurira), Daryl (Norman Reedus), and Carl (Chandler Riggs) during the opening minutes of tonight's episode of The Walking Dead. His words hum with a self-conscious sense of enthusiasm, a certain recognition that more than just Alexandria, but the series itself, has been trapped in a sort of standstill from which it's been trying to escape. Jesus does a fine job of convincing Rick's group that he means them no harm, negotiating a mutually beneficial future and rolling out the red carpet toward a nearby place known as the Hilltop. And for a moment, the group's cautiously measured excitement rhymes with our own.

The Walking Dead Recap Season 6, Episode 10, "The Next World"

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The Walking Dead Recap: Season 6, Episode 10, "The Next World"

Gene Page/AMC

The Walking Dead Recap: Season 6, Episode 10, "The Next World"

The latest episode of The Walking Dead, “The Next World,” is by and large a necessary, if not exactly radical, pressing of the reset button. “Start to Finish” culminated with a vision of what appeared to spell the end for Alexandria, and “No Way Out” with the promise of its salvation, with the denizens of the safe-zone fighting in emphatic lockstep to reclaim their little patch of earth from a mass of zombie marauders. “The Next World” jarringly leaps forward in time to reveal Alexandria still standing, and it conveys all the gumption that went into keeping it so through a wide range of non-incidents.

Luck Recap Season 1, Episode 8

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Luck Recap: Season 1, Episode 8

HBO

Luck Recap: Season 1, Episode 8

Given the plentiful violence found in previous shows by executive producers Michael Mann and David Milch, early speculation on what Luck would feel like often ended up somewhere in The Sopranos territory. After all, Luck would take place in the shady world of gambling. Its cast would sport tough-guy actors like Nick Nolte and Dennis Farina. And it would air on HBO, which some say is at its most successful when exploring violent worlds like those of The Wire and Boardwalk Empire. Eight episodes in, it's safe to say that this at times sweet show about the community forming around the Santa Anita Race Track is nothing like that. But in this, the series's penultimate episode, Sopranos director Allen Coulter gives us a taste of what the darker Luck many of us had been wishing for might have been like. And it isn't pretty.

Luck Recap Season 1, Episode 6

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Luck Recap: Season 1, Episode 6

HBO

Luck Recap: Season 1, Episode 6

There's no getting around the fact that this week's episode of Luck, written by Robin Shushan and directed by Henry Bronchtein, was overstuffed with exposition. Last week's entry was a bit of a respite after the turning point that was the fourth episode, letting us take in the state of some of the characters midseason. This week's episode is one where David Milch and the writers start setting the plates into motion that will keep spinning all the way until the first season concludes three weeks from now. As such, much of the plot mechanics are a little more obvious, particularly in the storyline involving Ace's (Dustin Hoffman) scheme to get back at former partner-in-crime Mike (Michael Gambon). So, given that Luck is strongest when the show is at its most elusive, eliding past plot points to get to a deeper truth, the strongest thread this week belonged to stammering jockey agent Joey Rathburn (Richard Kind), whose simmering financial/professional tensions have finally come to a boil.

Luck Recap Season 1, Episode 5

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Luck Recap: Season 1, Episode 5

HBO

Luck Recap: Season 1, Episode 5

After the emotional high points reached in last week's installment of Luck, it's only natural that this week's episode, written by Scott Willson and directed by Brian Kirk, feels a bit like a come-down. But the seeming pause in the action allows for revelatory moments of introspection which will inform the plot developments that arise as the first season heads into its backstretch. Characteristic of such introspection is the opening shot, trained on a reflection of Ace (Dustin Hoffman) before reframing on the man himself. Using mirrors both literal and figurative, this episode reminds us that three of Luck's characters, Ace, Joey (Richard Kind), and Marcus (Kevin Dunn), each bluff their way through many of their personal dealings considering their hidden good nature.

Luck Recap Season 1, Episode 1, "Pilot"

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Luck Recap: Season 1, Episode 1, "Pilot"

HBO

Luck Recap: Season 1, Episode 1, "Pilot"

Ace: Generally, how'd he look?

Gus: What do I know, Ace? All four of his legs reach the ground.

That exchange, between two of the leads on the new HBO series Luck, concerns Pint of Plain, the race horse that Chester “Ace” Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) owns by way of his driver and bodyguard Gus Demetriou (Dennis Farina). Gus is fronting for Ace, who's recently been released from prison and can't legally own a horse until he's off parole. But he knows as much about horse racing as most viewers probably do—which is to say, not much. Those expecting to get a primer on the sport will be disappointed by Luck's first episode, written by creator David Milch (Deadwood) and directed by his co-executive producer, Michael Mann. But that's not a criticism; what Milch and Mann have always been most effective at is getting to the substance of a specific subculture through stylistic means.