Leaving the gate unshut, and showing the folks playing a game at their dinner table as the crew rolls out of the neighborhood follows up on a big theme of the show ... and that is that the idea of neighborhoods and neighbors just doesn't mean anything anymore. When the daughter says she doesn't know the neighbors, so she isn't telling them about the soldiers pulling out of town, it's the whole crux of FTWD so far. You can pan back a little more and see that it's being played through in that the only thing people pay attention to is obligation, not any overall sense of neighborhood, city or country. The people of the city break down first and riot because of what the cops do, not knowing why they are doing it... then the soldiers come and make safe zones, but they bail out to protect themselves and their own when it gets too rough. And then the main characters do the same, leaving their unknown and unknowing neighbors to whatever fate they get. Obligations stick, though. The family is obligated to Daniel because he took them in during the riots. The junkie is obligated to Strand because of what he did in the holding cells, and is also obligated to his mom and stepdad who came for him and saved him before. His sister and step brother are obligated to each other now because they share the secret of breaking into that house and partying. Strand is obligated to the rest of the group because he would be dead without them pulling him out of the compound. And obligations will be where the drama streams from in the next season. Strand lived and died by manipulating obligations in the world before zombies and he'll lean heavy on that. He'll write Daniel off as a simple immigrant barber, though, and he'll pay for it in the long run. The junkie will be pulled back and forth because, well, that's what happens to junkies in dramas. It's going to be a good show, but man it took some time to get rolling.
Let's go over what they showed: 1) Flamethrower... Dude, that's fire, that's cool, looks good on TV 2) Bucs Cheerleaders in the Raid ... They could broadcast four straight hours of that and it would be quality programming. 3) Pick Six Interception ... Woot! Go Team! 4) Fun Fumble ... Instant Classic, will be on Football Follies and blooper reels for years to come. Beyond that, there really wasn't that much of interest if you aren't a Panthers fan. 14 games or so to cover in an hour, with 12 minutes of Phil Simms blathering on means there's only so much time for each game. And that sure wasn't the marquis match up. I mean, would you want a long video piece on the Cleveland/San Diego game? Nah... who would? Now the Seahawks game... that one will be worth a longer look. Especially if there are cheerleaders in the rain again. Can't get enough of that!
Week five of the season and we're already talking about showing some vets the door. How about we let them play out the games ahead before we start throwing them into the chipper/shredder? Sounds like a bunch of you guys would like the stadium announcer to welcome each of them onto the field to the refrain of "Dead Man Walkin'!" Guy tweaks his hamstring and you guys are circling him like buzzards waiting on a buffet. How about we save this until after the Super Bowl?
Actually, the Dakotas are probably closing down as well as the Canadian tar sands. For those areas to make any money, oil has to have a higher per barrel price than we are seeing now to make it profitable, somewhere around $55 per barrel if I recall correctly. They were making money hand over fist while prices were in the $90 a barrel range, but the increased production started bringing the price down. Then... The Saudis weighed in and started producing like mad, alongside increased Iraqi production and prices tumbled to $42 a barrel faster than the Dakotas and Canada could pull the plug on their operations and futures sales. Both are ramping down now as they fulfill futures purchases at prices where they are losing money on each barrel. Don't cry for them too much, though, as they made a literal crap-ton of money. And they will be back after the Saudis decided they need more money, and ISIS seizes a couple of oil fields, or the Russians "accidentally" hit a pipeline in Syria, or the Iranians screw up and find themselves shut out of the marketplace again.
And therein lies the secret to modern change. Bad practices are continued for as long as they are profitable. Protest with your voice all you want, but your wallet is the only thing that is ever heard.
Cam is progressing as a quarterback and you can see that the game is starting to slow down for him. Some of his escapes this past week, followed up by good downfield throws is a sign that he's coming into his own. He's not there, yet, though. We've got a long season ahead of us and I hope he keeps progressing. He's still not an elite passer, but he is respectable at the moment. He is a long way from his peak, but he's getting better and better with time. Let's face it, the guy has such incredible natural talent that it is going to be hard to imagine just how good he can possibly get. He is the first of the next generation QBs and we're going to be ahead of that curve for a long time.
There's a whole discussion to be had about for profit corporations taking over the running of non-profit hospitals. You can bring in the idea of each hospital's "Book" wherein they keep all of their prices for all services, supplies and practices. Those books are guarded and the consumer is never allowed to take a look. Insurance companies fight against the book and the management corporations use patients and near local monopolies to fight against the insurance companies. Sad to say but hospitals used to bring in so many workers because they could charge more for more nursing/technician care (cost plus a percentage), but insurance companies and Medicare cracked down on that heavily. Our medical billing and administration system is so completely byzantine at this point that it may require nationalization to get it back into some sense of order. And don't even get into the kick-backs and outright bribes in the pharmaceuticals and medical devices field.
Great coaches build an identity for a team, and Rivera's been doing that. He's added toughness to the team as a whole, and a part of that might have begun when he and Gettleman showed Smith the door. We all love Smitty, but he had been the schoolyard bully here for too long and it was beginning to be a detriment to the development of our next generation of players. Rivera's personality and toughness is rubbing off on the team, but I think the team is rubbing off on him, too. That's going to turn into something special over the next couple of years.
Seattle looks like a team where everyone is either getting big fat checks each week or is waiting on getting those big fat checks. It's a formula for a crash and it looks like they are in that mode now. That being said, we still can't take them lightly, those guys did earn those big contracts after all. And Jimmy Graham has two weeks worth of Thomas Davis nightmares still to go through before game day. He was so intimidated the last time he played against us, I started feeling bad for the guy. I'm afraid that Graham might wet his pants this time around.