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LJ Folger plays Nintendo Switch on Snowpiercer - Imagined Photoshop Credit: The Natural Aristocrat Photoshop via Nintendo/TNT LJ Folger plays Nintendo Switch on Snowpiercer - Imagined Photoshop Credit: The Natural Aristocrat Photoshop via Nintendo/TNT

Snowpiercer

LJ Folger plays Nintendo Switch on Snowpiercer: Console war won?

Photoshop Credit: The Natural Aristocrat via Nintendo/TNT

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Snowpiercer’s first class sociopath, LJ Folger, played a Nintendo Switch on tonight’s episode. Coincidental product placement or console war omen?

This article contains spoilers for Snowpiercer Episode 5 (“Justice Never Boarded”).

Lilah ‘LJ’ Folger Jr. broke out a Nintendo Switch, complete with dual red Joy-Cons prior to her trial on tonight’s Snowpiercer. Was it post-modern TV product placement or subliminal messaging from the show’s writers about the console coming out on top? After all, anything aboard Snowpiercer is meant to be part of Mr. Wilford’s balanced, precise ecosystem. Did Wilford Industries deem Nintendo’s Switch the victor of the console wars due to its portable nature then?

It would seem probable in a haste to board Snowpiercer in worldwide chaos, the Switch’s portability allowed it to live by process of natural selection. Easily stowed away in a backpack. Nevertheless, the bright-eyed, ember haired LJ Folger was facing a murder conviction but chose the Switch as a welcome distraction. A Super Mario Odyssey themed Switch no-less judging by the dual red joy-cons and coin sound effects.

The tailies of course, have no such amenities. No consoles, no Joy-Cons. Forever the beggar looking outside the window of a candlelit, upscale, French bourgeoisie restaurant. No karma aboard Snowpiercer. LJ got off scot free ‘courtesy’ of Mr. Wilford’s emergency declaration tonight… The train’s shadow staff fearing what Sean Wise had said in his final moments about Melanie Cavill’s true identity.

Thus, a conviction by First, Second, and Third Class alike was instantly reversed. A commuting of the sentence by Mr. Wilford due to LJ’s age brought custody back to her parents. Thus, LJ is unlikely to learn from the experience as her noble-like status on Snowpiercer overcame even a murder charge. One which she admitted guilt to in front of a live jury, only blaming the influence of her lover Erik.

Thus, the reason LJ Folger was so nonchalantly playing a Nintendo Switch ahead of her own murder trial was perfectly stated. Just another game in the library to be enjoyed, semi-rigged entertainment. Easily reset after losing. When it seems LJ Folger has reached zero lives… There are no consequences.

Be sure to read & watch:

Snowpiercer Episode 4 Review: Murder & Betrayal make great TV

Snowpiercer: Cow Extinction Event, New Ice Age Explored in Episode 2

Jennifer Connelly talks Acting, not looking back to replicate past works (Interview)

How to watch TNT’s Snowpiercer online: Live stream, Air time

Check out more Snowpiercer TV series coverage in The Natural Aristocrat’s Snowpiercer articles section!

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Anime Interviews

FunimationCon 2020: Christopher Wehkamp on Voice Acting (Interview)

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Christopher Wehkamp (left) Takehisa Hinawa (right) from Fire Force - Photo Credit: Christopher Wehkamp / Funimation
Photo Credit: Christopher Wehkamp (left) / Funimation (Right)

Christopher Wehkamp spoke to The Natural Aristocrat about FunimationCon 2020, voicing Fire Force’s Takehisa Hinawa, the reception to My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising, dubbing My Hero One’s Justice 2, and fan favorite Miles Edgeworth.

This interview contains mild spoilers for Fire Force.

The Natural Aristocrat [Nir Regev]: Funimation took the initiative of making this virtual convention, it could very well be the future of all conventions. How do you feel about the digital concept of FunimationCon 2020 as a blueprint for other conventions moving forward ?

Christopher Wehkamp: Honestly, I’m really excited about it. I like the fact that especially during this time that we’ve got a chance to come together and really just celebrate anime. I think that’s the aspect I’ve missed the most about going to conventions. I think I did about 17 conventions last year, 17 or 18, and this year I’m really missing it. A lot! So, yeah I’m really excited that Funimation is getting involved in that. Especially, bringing a lot of really exciting content experiences.

Do you feel the pandemic has heavily stifled your your vocal work or are you able to work from home?

Yeah, fortunately a lot of the studios have really embraced the idea of working with Actors who have home studios like myself. I’ve been very lucky in that aspect of it. Being able to work at home, kind of brings its own challenges… But getting to continue to work with these characters and still turn in auditions every day.

There’s a memorable scene in Fire Force where Takehisa Hinawa nonchalantly shoots Shinra Kusakabe for ‘idle chatter’. Shinra naturally thinks he’s hurt badly at first and is beside himself. What was it like to record for Hinawa in that moment? It was undoubtedly fun delivering that line.

I mean it was really good! Takehisa Hinawa is kind of a disciplinarian and that particular scene really showed his disciplinarian side coming out. It was fun I think because the character of Shinra and also the audience don’t quite know what to expect. At that point you don’t know exactly exactly how his powers work. It ends up being a really comedic scene. I loved it.

I got to watch it from the perspective of being ‘in the know’, being the character that knew what was happening. So that was really cool, I love working with Derick [Snow], the English voice of Shinra. I’m super duper excited for the debut of Season 2.

Takehisa Hinawa from Fire Force – Photo Credit: Funimation

What did you think of the reception for My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising cinema release as the voice of Shota Aizawa?

Oh wow, I got to go to the to the L.A. premiere in February, before the whole world was shut down. It was incredible. Getting a chance to be there with the cast and a lot of the cosplayers and fans showed up for it… It was just a once in a lifetime thing, one of the coolest nights of my life.

What made it all the better was the movie being fantastic! It’s got great animation. The story is really riveting. Some of the scenes are the best action scenes I’ve ever seen in an anime, period. To get to be a part of that, it’s an incredible honor! A great privilege.

Shota Aizawa and Deku Izuku Midoriya in My Hero Academia – Screenshot photo via VRV / Crunchyroll

You’ve voiced a lot of unique personalities throughout the years, my personal favorite being Miles Edgeworth. How do you approach crafting the fine details of a character beyond the script?

Thank you so much! It really does depend on the source material of the character, especially when it comes to dubbing anime. When I when I get to approach a character that already exists, in the case of Miles Edgeworth, I want to be pretty immersed in the context of that world and the game. Fortunately, that one worked out really well because I had originally played Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney in 2005 on Nintendo DS. So, I was already pretty familiar with the game, the world, and certainly was already familiar with Miles.

Miles Edgeworth [Christopher Wehkamp] in Ace Attorney – Screenshot photo via VRV / Crunchyroll

And from there you’re just you’re trying to craft an experience that entertaining and palatable to a western audience. But still feels very authentic and in the case of Ace Attorney, very comedic. There’s a lot of really funny, goofy moments especially between Phoenix and Miles. Where they’re kind of playing off their rivalry. So really playing that up! Of course, Director Kyle Phillips did a fantastic job of loving the source material and putting us right where we needed to be in any given scene.

When you talk about gaming, you voiced Shota Aizawa in My Hero One’s Justice 2, how do you compare recording lines for it compared to the anime? Is it a lot different day-to-day? I know you have to do all those screams or is that about the same?

No, you’re right. That’s actually one of the big differences! A lot of the reactions that you do as part of a video game are a very different flavor of voice acting than you typically get in a booth, doing like an anime dub. Although anime dubs, English dubs certainly have their fair share of those sorts of reactions. But of course with a video game, you’re really recording two or three takes of every single one. So, that you can sort of have a palette of sounds to work with.

My Hero One’s Justice 2 Art – Credit: Bandai Namco

I would say one of the biggest differences with Shota Aizawa, was we struggled sometimes in fight scenes specifically or in high tension moments because he’s so cool and laid back. (laughs) The challenge with him often times is to bring intensity, while also sort of remaining in that place of stoicism or coolness. There’s probably not a better word for it than cool!

The director and I were doing our best to sort of match what was already existing in the Japanese performance but also make sure we were staying true to that ethic of not getting too big with it. Finding the place where Aizawa exists most authentically I think. And that was fun! Doing the video game is a lot of fun. It’s much more high energy than he normally is in any given episode of the show. Getting the chance to do that was just really cool, really special.

How have you protected your voice over the years? I know a lot of voice actors drink tea.

That’s one thing I do for sure, on days when I’ve doing commercial voice over or voice acting. I don’t drink coffee and I try not to eat a lot of heavy foods. I’ve noticed those things can really affect my vocal performance and especially my endurance. I try to get a lot of sleep, drink a lot of water and tea. And you know when you get to the loud stuff, it’s really about support.

Having a background in singing and knowing how to use the diaphragm. How to support vocals for shouting during fight scenes and exerting yourself really goes a long way. But there are those days, when it’s just like you know what? This is maybe just going to hurt a little bit. And I think it can hurt and not damage you if you’re conscientious and do it in the right way. But it’s something I try to be very conscious of and careful about. You have to protect your career!

Shota Aizawa and Deku in My Hero Academia – Screenshot photo via VRV / Crunchyroll

Was voice acting something you always wanted to do?

Well acting really was, I was always an actor. I started off in elementary school as an actor and I acted all the way through school and through college as well. I kind of became an anime fan during college, when I started watching Adult Swim and Toonami. That really introduced me to a lot of really classic shows, I remember watching Cowboy Bebop for the first time. It just blew my mind!

So yeah, I always had it in the back of my head, I thought it would be amazing to be able to get it to do that. I think it was 2011 when I got a shot at auditioning at Funimation. That was kind of the beginning of it, and I realized pretty quickly that the work that I do in the booth was some of my favorite work.

There’s something about it, the reach is so huge now, anime has become this really mainstream thing. It wasn’t when I was younger. It was much more of a niche, sort of entertainment category and now it’s exploded into the mainstream in a big way!

I feel the same way, when I saw the Dragon Ball Super: Broly voice cast filled up the Theater at MSG, it was pretty impressive.

Yeah, it’s amazing to see because it was not like this, 20 years ago. So yeah, I think it’s really rewarding the reach that you get from doing these shows. And video games too! It’s a worldwide phenomenon. I love it, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Thanks Chris!

Thank you!

Learn more about FunimationCon 2020:

FunimationCon 2020 Logo – Convention Schedule – Art Credit: Funimation

– Visit FunimationCon.com and get a free digital badge to access the online festivities or follow along with on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

– Follow Christopher Wehkamp on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and visit his official website at ChristopherWehkamp.com!

– Get the English Dubbed Fire Force Season 1 Blu-ray at Amazon and catch up with Takehisa Hinawa!

– Leap over to BandaiNamco.com for more information about My Hero One’s Justice 2 and purchase the Collector’s Edition on Amazon or Best Buy today!

Be sure to read FunimationCon 2020: Kenny Omega talks My Hero Academia (Interview) and My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising villain ‘Nine’ steals film!

Check out more of The Natural Aristocrat’s anime & gaming coverage in the Anime and Gaming sections!

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AEW Interviews

FunimationCon 2020: Kenny Omega talks My Hero Academia (Interview)

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Kenny Omega and My Hero One's Justice 2 art, Omega is passionate about My Hero Academia at FunimationCon 2020 - Photo Credit: Kenny Omega's Instagram / Bandai Namco
Photo Credit: Kenny Omega's Instagram / Bandai Namco

Kenny Omega spoke to The Natural Aristocrat about FunimationCon 2020 as the future of conventions, his passion for My Hero Academia, hosting the My Hero One’s Justice 2 tournament, Dave Meltzer’s original 6-star match rating, AEW, and wanting to perform at NJPW & ROH’s G1 Supercard show at Madison Square Garden.

This interview contains spoilers for My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising.

The Natural Aristocrat [Nir Regev]: Funimation is ahead of the game doing a virtual ‘FunimationCon’ because this could indeed be the future. Maybe there won’t be mass in-person conventions anymore. You’ve experienced the changes firsthand in AEW, having talent-only shows due to the Coronavirus pandemic. How do you feel about FunimationCon 2020 and the future of conventions in general?

Kenny Omega: I mean you always have to consider that, this may be just the way things are from here on in. I sort of count my blessings that when this pandemic happened, which is a terrible thing, that at the very least, we’ve reached an age where everything can be done digitally. How we can still stay in contact with people from across the world, how we can still stay in touch with people even a few blocks away! If we can’t be live and in-person with people, if we can’t be live in a crowd… At the very least, we have a number of platforms where our voices can be heard, our faces can be seen. Worst case scenario things are going to be like this, for a long time, possibly forever. Who knows?

The silver lining to it all is that we as human beings have reached an age in technology where we can stay in touch. We can still communicate with each other and find ways to entertain one another. I think that’s at least one positive coming out all this is that there is hope.

You’re known to be a passionate fan of My Hero Academia, I was wondering about your feelings on My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising? I felt Nine wasn’t a traditional villain, he was more akin to X-Men’s Magneto, considering the wolf-faced man, Chojuro Kon, remarks he didn’t treat him like a monster for his looks. Quite reminiscent of Magneto & Mystique.

Exactly! I do believe in a lot of cases, If you can level with the villain, if there’s a human side to them, if you can see their perspective… They’re effectively more interesting of a character. You brought up Magneto, another one is Thanos. I think one thing that My Hero Academia does better than any other series, that’s including Marvel, DC, everything is they provide emotional strength to their characters. I think it was a pretty good idea to always give the human side, and give perspective to both the heels and the villains.

Especially, if you’re gonna go for like a movie type feeling to something, you want to make your evil, an incredible evil. But I don’t think that’s going to the last cinematic release for My Hero Academia. I think that’s going to be here for a long time. Whether it be featured in a season within the series or whether it’s featured in the movie, I think you’re gonna get those purely evil people that don’t even need-

Like for example, The Nomu in the first season. They had no real motivation. They’re just killing machines, right? So, they sort of already had went with that angle. This very powerful, almost indestructible killing machine that only thinks about death, destruction, and killing.

That’s almost like The Terminator approach. It has one mission. It has one thing it needs to fulfill, and that’s death and destruction. I think that the writers are so talented for the series that they can take a numerous amount of approaches to their villains and their heroes and keep it interesting. They could even have heroes that appear to have a dark side to them like Bakugo, for example.

I sort of still feel that maybe down the road, he made just drift over to the dark world for a while. He may he may become the ultimate villain at the end of it. Who knows?! But they’ve given ideas and character layers. These characters can sometimes drift more into one zone than another and I think that’s fantastic. it’s a lot of food for thought after processing you know a gigantic arc within a story.

You’ve been connected to gaming professionally since your New Japan Pro Wrestling days. Even integrating the Final Fantasy 7 inspired “One Winged Angel” into your day-to-day wrestling move set. What started the journey to anime & gaming that led you to connecting with Bandai Namco and hosting the My Hero One’s Justice 2 voice actor tournament at FunimationCon 2020?.

That’s a very good question, I’ve always wanted to get as involved as possible with my passions and my hobbies outside of wrestling. You know, I love wrestling. It’s a great sport and been a fantastic job to me. It’s allowed me to travel the world and meet a lot of new friends. And it turns out that a lot of people that watch wrestling, a lot of people that wrestling have very similar interests to me. Which is video games, anime, things like that. With how the current climate of the world is… If you have an interest in something, if you have a hobby, there’s always a deeper level to it.

So, if I like video games for example, there’s competitions for video games, there’s people that collect retro games, and try to try to amass entire libraries of games. The same with anime. If you watch anime that was released in the States and in Japan & you enjoy anime, then you can take that as deep as you want to go. You can delve back into the annals of time, into the archives, and there’s hundreds of thousands of anime shows and movies. Especially working in Japan, I was living in Japan for about 11 years. It allowed me to really take my hobby and one of my passions, which is both anime and video games to a really deep level.

I found first and foremost that I really love sports anime. And so that that took me down one path to really find and hone what my favorite sports animes were and get really into it. Read the mangas and all that stuff. Being a comic book collector as a child and a fan of Saturday morning cartoons and all that, of course, I was a huge fan of superhero stuff. Once My Hero Academia came out, I felt, ‘Okay I can give it a shot.’ And within the first 30 minutes, or I guess I could say twenty one with commercials of the first episode… I was more connected to that story in that world than anything that I had seen or read in the past decade, probably.

I knew that they were a winner and I’m just so glad that it has seen the success that it has because now we can continue that story. The journey continues. One thing that’s really sad is when you love something, you support it, and you follow something along & can’t wait for the next book or the next season or the next movie to release… And there’s no fan support, so it just kind of dies off.

Luckily, we’re already, four or five seasons in. I don’t know if I’d consider it the halfway point but we’ve seen a lot of material for Boku no Hīrō Akademia, My Hero Academia,. I’m just thrilled that we’re still continuing on this journey and it seems that, a lot of people are with me on this, that we’re going to see even more. And that’s really exciting for me.

When you received that 6-star rating from Dave Meltzer for your match against Kazuchika Okada in NJPW… Did you feel that put more pressure on you to have to deliver every time? Does it serve as motivation? I remember Steve Austin commenting on his podcast that he went to check out your match because of that Meltzer rating.

Yeah, I mean it’s a double edged sword really because when you set that standard, that precedent that you can have a six star match… For some people there’s an expectation that, ‘Oh, if I see Kenny Omega, this is what I expect and hope to see!’ And there’s a lot of variables that go into making a 6-star match. Now, I’ve had I think four or five matches that have went over 6-stars or 6 and over. I’ve had more than that go over 5 stars. But I never feel the pressure to have to deliver what one critic deems over a 5-star match.

What I’m trying to do is just diversify my resume, I never want to have to give what in one person’s mind is a 6-star match. That 6-star match to him isn’t necessarily what I think is a 6-star match. It isn’t necessarily what my neighbor that was beside me thinks is a 6-star match. It’s not what little Jimmy who lives across the world and generally likes watching Sailor Moon, maybe he doesn’t consider that a 6-star match. I’m trying to always have performances that can appeal to all sorts of different people, from all walks of life.

I think as long as there is somebody in the world, that looks at one of my performances and considers it time not wasted. Or one of the best things that they’ve seen, I feel like my job is complete. So, yes there’s pressure to always give a performance that I think merits somebody’s interest and high praise. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be that one person’s praise.

Do you have a personal 6-star match, one that’s your favorite?

That’s a very good question. Of course, I’m very proud of the match that was the only one that’s ever been rated 7-stars (NJPW Dominion). That was the culmination of a year’s worth of storytelling and I felt like it was a great way to end the story. It not only gave something brand new for fans but fully implementing storyline elements from all the matches that came before it. So, that match I’m very proud of. My most recent 6-star match that I had in AEW was one that I was extremely proud of because I could get it with my friends.

That I had RTW was one I was extremely proud of because I could do with my friends. Generally speaking, it’s very difficult to obtain a 6-star rating. At least by the Meltzer system, in America. I think for us to pull it off is just a real feather in the cap for all four of us to do something that no one really in North America has ever done. Not only that but again like I said, one person’s opinion is fantastic, someone who’s very studied and knowledgeable in wrestling. But the general feedback from anyone that’s seen the match and other critics alike really enjoyed it.

That for me is the ultimate payoff, when you start to see almost universal praise. Of course, you might find someone who will vilify it which is fine. But when you see generally incredibly positive feedback from sometimes even people who don’t like your stuff. It’s a real good feeling that kind of lets you know, you did a good night’s worth of work.

I actually bought a ticket to the NJPW/ROH G1 Supercard Show at Madison Square Garden last year because I thought you were going to be performing there to be honest.

Oh, we all thought I was going to be there! Even though I’d already been involved with the AEW project at that point and everyone knew my intentions of going there… It was always my hope that I could still be a part of that show. But you know, things happen. It was just a preference that there was no one from AEW to represent on that card.

But I was always ready, willing, and able. I still feel that it’s a shame that it couldn’t have happened because there was nothing on my end that had caused that to happen. But I understand there’s not just a service to the fans but there’s a very unknown business side to everything we do. I’d call about to happen. Whether it be in wrestling or fear of working any kind of job. There’s a hierarchy and there’s stuff that happens behind closed doors that no one ever hears about or talks about. And those decisions were made without my involvement, and it was decided I wouldn’t be on the show.

Again, I still apologize to fans because of that and it is a shame because I would have loved to show people something special from New Japan in one of the world’s most famous arenas.

I hope to see AEW arrive in MSG someday if and when the pandemic ends! Thanks Kenny!

Thank you so much man, I really hope to be back in arenas again someday soon!

Learn More About FunimationCon 2020:

FunimationCon 2020 Logo – Convention Schedule – Art Credit: Funimation

– Visit FunimationCon.com and get a free digital badge to access the online festivities or follow along with on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

– Leap over to BandaiNamco.com for more information about My Hero One’s Justice 2 and purchase the Collector’s Edition on Amazon or Best Buy today!

– Watch Kenny Omega every Wednesday night on AEW Dynamite over on TNT and follow Kenny on Twitter, Instagram.

Disclosure: The Natural Aristocrat® is a member of Amazon and Best Buy’s affiliate programs. A commission may be earned should you make a purchase through the links above.

Be sure to read My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising villain ‘Nine’ steals film and Cody praises Riho at AEW Conference Call: ‘Audience has fallen for her’!

Check out The Natural Aristocrat’s Anime and AEW article sections for more coverage!

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AMC

Lydia, Negan steal show with shades of TLOU’s Ellie and Joel

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Cassady McClincy as Lydia, Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan - The Walking Dead _ Season 10, Episode 15 - Photo Credit: Jace Downs/AMC
Photo Credit: Jace Downs/AMC

Cassady McClincy gave her best acting performance to date on “The Tower” as she and Jeffrey Dean Morgan made a strong play for the roles of Ellie & Joel on HBO’s upcoming adaption of The Last of Us.

This article contains spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 10 Episode 15 (“The Tower”) and The Last of Us.

Is it time for Negan to trade in his vintage leather jacket for an olive-green plaid shirt in-between seasons of The Walking Dead? Lydia’s chaotic outburst at the father figure who ironically made her an orphan tonight was magic. A frenzied tearjerker with the same intentionally unrefined edges that once made Rick Grimes’ breakdown ‘snot’ memorable. Vicious, raw screaming at the man who took away both Lydia’s mother and right to self-sacrifice at her hand. Cradled, sheltered, and snatched from fate. Just as Joel did to Ellie at the conclusion of The Last of Us.

The type of father/daughter on-screen chemistry Cassady McClincy and Jeffrey Dean Morgan share is a rare sight. Negan pleading with Lydia to hit him, desiring nothing more than to lean down to present an unguarded mug was one of the show’s more powerful visuals. What do you say to an abused teenager whose mother you just pushed past death row? Lydia, rejected the guilt-filled plea initially. Opting to pierce Negan where it hurts the most… With words of truth. ‘You just wanted to be a hero to them but you’ll never be one!’

Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan, Cassady McClincy as Lydia – The Walking Dead _ Season 10, Episode 15 – Photo: Jace Downs/AMC

Though TWD’s audience has seen a youngster losing a parent before with Carl Grimes, it was to an extent, mostly bottled up by Carl postmortem. Here we see the full spectrum of emotions from detachment, disgust and unbridled rage to complete shock, vulnerability and sadness by Lydia. Rockbottom.

The last remnants of Lydia’s innocence, of her childhood, forever gone. No chance of making her mother or father’s heart be filled with pride ever again. Not even the faintest, unrealistic daydreams of her mother’s starry-eyed happy tears at a college graduation or wedding. Every day forward will be spent alone, even when others are there. Instead of being gently guided, Lydia is shoved into the mud of adulthood.

Tonight’s TWD just needed Gustavo Santaolalla’s “All Gone” (No Escape) to complete the moment…

Be sure to read Lydia’s mistreatment proves Second Chances are Fashion Statements and more TWD Season 10 coverage in The Natural Aristocrat’s Walking Dead category section.

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