The Walking Dead returns in a couple of days. I thought it was about time I caught up on my season 3 posts.
When we last left the prison gang, Rick had learned a valuable lesson about the true meaning of Christmas, Daryl finally found Carol and Michonne showed up outside of the prison gates. Rick takes his sweet time deciding whether or not to let her in. While she’s waiting, she kills a few walkers and then passes out. They carry her inside and Rick immediately takes away her sword. Isn’t that pretty much what Michonne’s story has been this year? Someone takes away her sword and she spends the rest of the episode scowling. Daryl shows Rick that Carol is still alive and the two of them hug. Michonne looks on thinking that maybe these people aren’t trustworthy after all.
After a bit more prodding, Michonne tells the prison gang about Glenn and Maggie getting captured. She also tells them about Woodbury. It doesn’t take too long for them to decide the need to go and get their people back. We get a couple more nicely composed shots inside the prison as the everyone volunteers to go and then outside the prison as Rick, Daryl, Michonne and Oscar get ready to leave. Is it wrong that the camerawork is one of my favorite parts about this improved season 3?
Before the invasion force takes off in their spacious Hyundai, Rick takes a moment to talk to Carl. They really only exchange one or two sentences about the fact that Carl had to kill his mother, which is too bad, though I’m sure they’ll have plenty of time to discuss it in the future. Carl does tell his dad that the baby needs a name that isn’t “Asskicker” which is what Daryl has been calling her. Rick doesn’t seem to know what to say. Before he can suggest Carla, Carl jumps in with Judith, the name of his third grade teacher. Rick seems okay with that, even if there’s a good chance that teach is a walker by now. They tacitly propose and agree that “Asskicker” will be Judith’s middle name.
Meanwhile, back in Woodbury, Andrea and the Gov are in love! We join them after what might be a morning lovemaking session (“hell yeah” as the Gov would say), and they are interrupted by Milton, the mad scientist. Turns out he has been working on a new experiment and he (or rather, his subject) is just dying to show it off. The three of them go to the mad science lab and Milton introduces Andrea to Mr. Coleman. You see, Mr. Coleman is an old dude who is probably going to die pretty soon. He’s volunteered to let Milton watch him die and change into a walker (or in his case, a comfortable recliner).
Once Mr. Coleman turns, Milton will test his memory to see if he can recall things like pictures, songs or the sound emitted by the Lazarus Bowl. Andrea is there for Milton’s protection, in case Mr. Coleman gets nippy. She’s also there to tell Milton that he’s nuts for thinking that walkers have any kind of memory of their human lives. Milton’s pretty nervous and excited about the whole thing. Mr. Coleman dies unceremoniously and they strap him to the bed. When he changes, Milton hurriedly goes through his rigamarole, trying to get a reaction out of Mr. Coleman that is something other than “braaaaaaaaaains!” Look at me, still calling him Mister Coleman even after he has zombified. Against Andrea’s advice, Milton decides to unstrap Mr. Coleman’s right hand. This goes about as well as expected.
Milton leaves to change his pants.
In another part of Woodbury, Glenn and Maggie are being held in separate rooms. Merle questions Glenn (who is strapped to a chair) on the whereabouts of Daryl and the rest of the gang. Glenn isn’t interested in doing much talking, though he does give Merle a bloody nose. Merle returns the favor by smacking Glen around a little bit. Glenn unknowingly slips up by telling Merle that Andrea is with the group, though he still refuses to say any more. Merle decides to offer Glenn a cellmate in the form of a walker.
What follows is a thrilling fight between Glenn and the walker. There’s not really a lot of contact between the combatants as Glenn is attached to a chair pretty much the whole time and he’s obviously trying to avoid the walker. Still it’s pretty tense and is perhaps my second favorite scene in the episode. Glenn manages to tangle up the walker long enough to break the chair that binds him and stab the walker through the head with one of the chair arms. The audience exhales.
With Glenn proving uncooperative, the Gov decides to interrogate Maggie himself. His methods are a little different than Merle’s. Less physical, more unbearably creepy. The Gov threatens to bring Glenn’s hand to Maggie if she doesn’t take off her shirt and bra. He then removes his gunbelt and skeezily walks up behind her. He smells her hair, presumable to see how prison shampoo compares to Woodbury-Sassoon. He bends her over, slamming her down onto the table, but thankfully, doesn’t take it any further. It’s pretty rough. The Gov drags half-dressed Maggie in to see bloody Glenn. When he puts a gun to Glenn’s head, Maggie finally gives away the prison.
Merle, the Gov, Milton and another henchman guy talk about this news. The Gov is impressed that Rick’s crew has taken over the prison, a task which Merle claimed was impossible. Apparently the prison is deep within the “red zone” mentioned last week. Despite the danger, the Gov sends the other guy to go scout it out. He then turns to Merle and voices his uncertainty about Merle’s allegiances, now that he knows his brother is alive and with Rick’s group. Merle assures the Gov that he’s his right…er…left hand man.
Rick and co. leave the car and traipse through the woods. Rick takes a moment to thank Daryl for looking after Judith while he was racking up long distance charges. Daryl basically says “that’s what we do.” Daryl is awesome. Suddenly, the group is surrounded by walkers. They take a couple out but are really outnumbered. Thankfully, there’s a convenient cabin nearby. The four take refuge in the cabin only to find a dead dog and a sleeping, but very much alive fellow there. And here’s my favorite scene of the episode.
Rick wakes the guy up and he proceeds to threaten Rick with a shotgun. He also threatens to call the cops. Where the hell has this guy been? My money is on “just sleeping.” Rick explains that there are walkers outside, which our latter-day Rip Van Winkle fails to process. Rick disarms Rip and he runs for the door, somehow ignorant of what the undead usually do to the living. Michonne stabs him to death before he can open the door. I love how our “heroes” can just trespass into some guy’s cabin and murder him. Then, as if that weren’t bad enough, they toss his body out the front door so they can sneak out the back. The walkers tear the guy apart.
Michonne, Rick, Daryl and Oscar close in on the outer walls of Woodbury, which are guarded by the usual assortment of hicks and people who look weird carrying longbows. Andrea leaves the wall and goes back to the Gov’s apartment. They share a kiss and Andrea tells the Gov that Milton’s experiment didn’t work out. He embraces her telling her that it’s okay. An ominous thrum builds on the soundtrack. Something big is going to happen!
Next week on The Walking Dead: Rip’s wife files a missing persons report with the local authorities.