“Say the Word” opens on the Second Annual Woodbury Community Block Party. It looks like a heck of a lot of fun, but Michonne refuses to join in. Instead, she takes a look up at Governor Pip’s apartment window. You see, he’s in there brushing someone’s hair. Nope, it’s not a severed head, it’s his daughter. Of course, his daughter is a walker. Yep, another big secret. Sure it isn’t the walker sex dungeon I mentioned previously, but it’s still early in the season (and an episode with a few other reveals). The Gov locks his daughter away again and then heads down to deliver a speech in front of the crowd of adoring Woodbury-ans. What a great charismatic leader!
While the Gov’s pumping up the crowd, Michonne breaks her sword free from his quarters. She finds his John Doe-esque serial killer notebooks and almost breaks open the door to his head-quarium room. Before she can get the door open, she hears the Gov coming. She hides when he comes into the room, arguing with his mad scientist about whether it’s okay to use the community’s power for the celebration, instead of the scientist’s experiments. The Gov wins, intent on the block party being even better than last year’s! Michonne takes her sword out the back window and stumbles up on the Woodbury Community Walker Zoo. It does not feature a petting zoo. Michonne sets the walkers free and cuts them all down. She doesn’t want to get rusty. Of course, she gets caught and has to meet with the Gov.
I must admit, I was pretty excited about the scene between Michonne and the Gov. Our two new main characters are finally squaring off one-on-one and arguing about who gets to use this as an Emmy submission episode. The Gov explains that Michonne needs to be punished for her transgression, unless, of course, she wants to join up with the Woodbury Community Militia. They need a good swordswoman (swordstress? swordtrix?). Michonne gets ahold of her katana again and tickles he Gov’s adam’s apple with it. She’s had enough of this. She ends up leaving Woodbury, but she’s unable to convince Andrea to leave with her, so I’m going to declare the Michonne/Gov face-off a tie. What’s the over/under on episodes until Michonne reaches the prison?
As a side note, this episode is entitled “Say the Word,” clearly implying that “Sussudio” is intended to be the omitted last word of the title. Take a moment to Imagine Sussudio from The Governor’s perspective, singing about Michonne. It kind of makes sense, particularly for this episode.
Later on, Merle, the mad scientist and company drive out to a walker trap and go fishing for zombies, reeling in a few good ones. Merle kills one female walker (who is unable to bite through the mad scientist’s homemade duct-tape-sleeved shirt) and then he and another guy begin to de-tooth another walker. Perhaps Merle’s mother told him to be a dentist. The freshly caught walkers are replacements for the ones Michonne killed. They are needed for the main event: The Woodbury Community Middleweight Walxing Championship!
Merle and one of the fly-dancers from the first Christmas episode of Community face off in a ring of walkers on chains while everyone in the crowd watches and cheers them on. It’s almost as intense as the commercial for Crossfire (Crossfire!). Andrea is clearly disgusted, and I’m a little put off by this whole thing. Is this really one of the big secrets that Woodbury is hiding? I think it’s a good idea for a middle-of-the-road zombie movie, but it feels a bit out of place here, especially the fact that everyone but Andrea is going crazy for this. Of course, the Gov’s explanation of the fight makes things a little better, I guess. He tells Andrea that the fight is a way to blow of steam, and a way to teach people not to be afraid of walkers. Also, it’s staged (so that’s why they were removing walker teeth). Whether that works or not, I find it hard to believe that everyone would simply go along with this ridiculous form of entertainment from the start. Then I realized that this is the south, and hey, NASCAR. I think Andrea’s second-guessing her decision to stay a little longer, after all, with Michonne gone she no longer has a partner for the three-legged race.
Oh yeah, we also get some time at the prison. Rick is catatonic for a bit. Herschel mentions that the baby (a girl!) needs formula. Daryl is the first person to volunteer. Ain’t he the best? He and Maggie head off on his bike to hunt for baby supplies. Glenn starts to dig three graves. I guess that means we lost Carol too? It’s nice to know that T-Dog’s sacrifice was even more pointless. Glenn and Herschel share a nice moment together, which is undermined by the fact that Glenn spends the time talking about how great a guy T-Dog was. His actions in closing the gate saved Maggie too. Also, as Glenn notes, apparently “when the evacuation started, T-Dog drove his church van to the home of every senior he knew.” Sorry writers, this posthumous character development simply isn’t working. Too little, too late.
Rick decides to go on a rampage with an axe. He kills a bunch of walkers in disgusting fashion. He’s gotta harness that stuff for when the Gov shows up. Glenn catches up to Rick and tries to convince him to come back to his kids. Rick resists Glenn, who gives up. Meanwhile, Maggie and Daryl search a creepy, abandoned daycare. The best part, other than the possum Daryl finds in a closet, is the wall covered in paper cutouts of children’s hands. It’s great. They find a some supplies and formula and bring it back to the prison. Glenn asks Carl what the baby’s name will be. Carl immediately offers up the names of every female character who has died on the show. How creative. The best part of this scene is Daryl, who grabs baby “in memoriam” and begins to bottle feed her. The guy continues to impress.
Rick continues his journey into the bowels of the prison. He stumbles upon the delivery room, but doesn’t find Lori’s body. He does find a bullet stuck in the floor beneath a huge blood streak. He follows the blood to a walker who appears to have eaten his fill of something. Rick blows the back of the walker’s head off and then proceeds to stab it in the stomach a bunch of times. Maybe he wants to get Lori’s wedding ring back (yes, I know a woman as pregnant as Lori was probably wasn’t wearing her wedding ring on her finger, but still). Either that or he just wanted to see her face one more time (see what you get when you nitpick my “jokes”?).
Daryl heads out to the prison yard to pay his respects to the three graves. It appears that three graves were actually dug, but who are they for? I think T-Dog is a given. Also, Daryl gets the hat trick for this episode, pulling a Cherokee Rose out of his pocket and placing it on one of the graves. It’s a very sweet little moment. I love this guy. The third grave though? It is decidedly unclear, but at this point I don’t think anyone went back for Lori’s body. Considering what Rick found, I think maybe there wasn’t a lot left to be buried. Plus, Rick is still in the delivery room at this time. I don’t think they would waste the effort to bury Andrew either. I’m forced to assume that the third grave is for Herschel’s leg, buried Santa Anna style.
The episode closes with Rick sitting despondently in the delivery room. Here’s a guy who is grieving, broken and angry. He then hears the cries of his new daughter echoing through the prison. Way to twist the knife. But, that’s when the phone starts ringing. What a great way to bring Rick out of his funk. I only hope it’s not a wrong number.
Next week on The Walking Dead: Daryl teaches everyone proper swaddling technique.