Lauren Cohan (#110 of 28)

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"

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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 8, "Hearts Still Beating"

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The Walking Dead Recap: Season 7, Episode 8, "Hearts Still Beating"

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The Walking Dead Recap: Season 7, Episode 8, "Hearts Still Beating"

This season's start was as bleak as any in The Walking Dead's history, but the show's midseason finale closed on a major note of hope. Tested by the fire of Negan's (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) sadistic dictatorship, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and most of his core group wound up stronger than ever, determined to stand up to their tormentor—and to do it together. “Hearts Still Beating” ends on a shadowy figure who's spying on our survivors, the close-up of his (or her?) boots establishing that it's the same person who shadowed Aaron (Ross Marquand) and Rick on their supply run earlier that day.

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

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

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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 7, Episode 1, "The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be"

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The Walking Dead Recap: Season 7, Episode 1, "The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be"

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The Walking Dead Recap: Season 7, Episode 1, "The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be"

My husband used to fret that I was convinced civilization was about to collapse because I watched zombie movies, but he had it backwards. Having grown up in 1950s and '60s Detroit, I saw firsthand how fragile even apparently solid social infrastructures can be, and ours seem particularly vulnerable these days. To pick just three existential threats out of a very large hat, hackers are poised to shut down the Internet, a foreign dictator plays chicken with nukes while an American presidential candidate keeps asking why we don't use ours, and a global refugee crisis makes homelessness in New York City look manageable by comparison. That's why I love stories about the zombie apocalypse: They're a safe way to explore my fears about the breakdown of society, and to imagine how we might rebuild our lives and create communities after a major disaster.

The Walking Dead Recap Season 6, Episode 16, "Last Day on Earth"

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The Walking Dead Recap: Season 6, Episode 16, "Last Day on Earth"

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The Walking Dead Recap: Season 6, Episode 16, "Last Day on Earth"

Last week's episode of The Walking Dead, “East,” ended with what felt like a dozen cliffhangers. Maggie, after getting a new hairdo for reasons that were far more symbolic than practical (if she were truly concerned about a walker grabbing her by the hair, she would have cut it a long time ago), clutched her stomach in agony and fell to the floor. Did she lose her baby? Carol, after obliterating a group of Saviors, set off for destinations unknown, with Morgan and Rick hot on her trail. Is she forever lost to her friends and surrogate family at Alexandria? And, of course, there was Daryl's blood as it splattered, like something out of a pulp film, on the camera's lens as Dwight shot him from behind and said, “You'll be all right.” But is he truly all right?

The Walking Dead Recap Season 6, Episode 13, "The Same Boat"

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The Walking Dead Recap: Season 6, Episode 13, "The Same Boat"

Gene Page/AMC

The Walking Dead Recap: Season 6, Episode 13, "The Same Boat"

Last week's episode of The Walking Dead, “No Tomorrow Yet,” ended with the sudden dampening of whatever sense of triumph Rick's (Andrew Lincoln) group felt after its successful, if morally fraught, raid on a Saviors outpost. And tonight's episode, “The Same Boat,” immediately backtracks to reveal the moment leading to Carol (Melissa McBride) and Maggie's (Lauren Cohan) capture and Rick's attempt to orchestrate their release. You may shudder, and for all the wrong reasons, at the sight of the brusque Saviors using Binocular-O-Vision to spy on Rick and his troops. Notwithstanding the scene's artful use of sound, the bad memories stirred of Fear of the Walking Dead's first season finale suggest that director Billy Gierhart doesn't have anything up his sleeve as radical as Gregory Nicotero's delirious co-opting of John Carpenter's style for “No Tomorrow Yet.”

The Walking Dead Recap Season 6, Episode 12, "No Tomorrow Yet"

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The Walking Dead Recap: Season 6, Episode 12, "No Tomorrow Yet"

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The Walking Dead Recap: Season 6, Episode 12, "No Tomorrow Yet"

More proof that we're increasingly entrenched in an era of “peak television,” and that we're all struggling to keep up, last week the Vulture's Margaret Lyons answered a series of questions by readers asking for the best “batches” of TV episodes. In calling her recommended blocks “sure things,” Lyons inadvertently exposes the struggle that such infuriatingly spotty shows like The Walking Dead may face in lingering in the public consciousness after they go off the air. Indeed, thinking back to the entirety of its last season, and the current season up to tonight's episode, even this sometimes apologetic fan of the series is struggling to come up with three episodes in a row to recommend to someone looking to fill in a few hours between lunch and picking up the kids at school. But if you only have one, then you can't do better than “No Tomorrow Yet,” which exudes a corkscrew tension that's redolent of some of John Carpenter's finest work.

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 9, "No Way Out"

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The Walking Dead Recap: Season 6, Episode 9, "No Way Out"

Gene Page/AMC

The Walking Dead Recap: Season 6, Episode 9, "No Way Out"

It's Valentine's Day, and The Walking Dead's mid-season premiere aptly kicks off with a gesture that makes clear that audiences are never too far from the minds of the show's creators. If you missed the coda that would presumably serve as the setup for the second half of the show's sixth season, either because you tuned out after the mid-season finale's credits or your cable provider (cough, Cablevision, cough) forced you to, “No Way Out” replays the tense scenario before following it to its logical—given Daryl's (Norman Reedus) typically slick standards—conclusion.

The Walking Dead Recap Season 6, Episode 5, "Now"

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The Walking Dead Recap: Season 6, Episode 5, "Now"

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The Walking Dead Recap: Season 6, Episode 5, "Now"

Trollgate reaches a fever pitch in “Now,” the wheel-spinning low point of an otherwise stellar season of The Walking Dead. By design, the perversity with which the audience continues to be baited with the possibility of Glenn having been chowed down to pieces still justifies itself. Slowly throughout the season, the show's narrative has bloomed outward as if in rhythmic lockstep with the progression of the zombie horde Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and his motley crew of survivors led away from Alexandria. One week inside, one week outside. “Now” returns us to the safe-zone, where we survey the grim aftermath of the Wolves' attack alongside Rick, which means the series would be out of line, and in more ways than one, if in next week's episode it doesn't plop us alongside Glenn, no doubt cowering beneath a dumpster and covered in a dead man's guts.