Walking Dead Season 3, Episode 3

My goodness, how I’ve fallen behind with my reviews of the Walking Dead lately! And there’s really no excuse, not with everything that’s been happening in the series lately. With the third episodes in the series, an all-important element has been introduced into the story arc – that being the dubious man known as “The Governor” and his little fortress town.

As anyone familiar with the comic knows, this is an extremely important development to the evolving story. Whereas it represents a separate plot thread in the story, it merges with that of Rick and the others who are trying to make a life inside the prison facility down the road. But I shant spoil any of that, mainly I want to talk about this episode!

Episode 3: Walk With Me
The episode opens with a helicopter crashing in the forest, and with Andrea and Michonne arriving on scene to witness what happened. They are forced to take cover as a series of vehicles pull up and men jump out, dispatching the Walkers who have been attracted to the scene. After killing them all, one man inspects the dead aboard the chopper who have begun to turn and shoots them all in the head.They then take the pilot, who is wounded but alive, into their custody.

Shortly thereafter, the group of armed men begin to inch closer to the forest where Michonne and Andrea are hiding. In order to stay hidden, Michonne kills her captive zombies by slicing their heads off. They think they are in the clear, but the moment they try to leave, a one armed man gets to them from behind and takes them both prisoner. The one armed man is none other than Merle Dixon, the brother of Daryle Dixon who was lost from the group in the first season.

They have a brief reunion as Merle explains to Michonne that he and Andrea are acquainted. Andrea then passes out from her sickness, and wakes up to find that she and Michonne had been taken to a small town nearby. After Merle explains to them how he survived after cutting off his own hand to free himself of Rick’s cuffs, a man referred to as “The Governor” walks in. He explains to them that they are not prisoners and are free to leave.

However, after seeing the town on the following day, Andrea believes they should stay. In addition to its walls, armed guards, and well-disciplined people, the town appears to be well stocked and peaceful. Michonne does not trust the Governor, but Andrea begins to take an obvious shine to him. One day quickly turns into two, and a rift begins to appear between Andrea and Michonne as the one wants to stay and the other wants to leave.

Meanwhile, the Governor speaks to the lone survivor of the chopper crash and learns where his comrades are waiting for them. He then takes an armed group to ambush them and steal their weapons and supplies. Upon his return, he lies to the townspeople and tells them that the chopper pilot died of natural causes and the entire squad of soldiers were killed by Walkers, and begins distributing all their supplies amongst the people.

Andrea then asks the Governor what his real name is, but doesn’t get an answer. Clearly, there is something of a spark between the two of them, and Andrea seems intent on pursuing it. At the same time, Michonne has clearly caught the eye of one of the Governor’s men, and it seems that whether she likes it or not, they will be staying for the time being. While Michonne remains suspicious, Andrea has been taken in by the town’s happy facade and the Governor’s outward charm.

The episode then ends with the Governor in his private apartment, his bed occupied with the town’s woman who was speaking to Andrea and Michonne from earlier. He then returns to a private den with a glass of whiskey where he sits in front of a row of aquariums which contain the heads of several living Walkers. Amongst them is the head of Welles, the helicopter pilot, and the heads of Michonnes own walkers.

Personally, I felt that this was the best episode of the show thus far, with the possible exception of the one where the group finds their way to the CDC. In addition to being central to the overall plot of the show, it was also extremely poignant and entertaining. It begins with the reintroduction of Merle, a solid but unsympathetic character from the first season; the introduction of the Governor and his town, and ends with the revelation that he is far from an endearing character himself.

What’s more, Michonne, who has had very little exposure thus far in the series, really killed it in this episode. All throughout, she maintains her tough, frowny exterior, demanding their weapons and insisting to Andrea that they move on. However, she also shows genuine apprehension as its becoming clear that Andrea wants to stay and that there are some who would like her to stick around too. Though it is only conveyed in a few passing glances between her and one of the Governor’s men, it’s apparent that she will find her own reasons for sticking around soon too!

At the same time, the metaphor of the town couldn’t be more clear. At first, it appears like a happy, secure place, the kind of place a person who is used to scrounging and fighting for every inch would see as an instant paradise. But of course, the terrible truth is soon revealed to us, the audience, with the expectation that it will also become clear to Andrea and Michonne before long. As is intimated several times, it seems unlikely that such a place could exist, or that there is another shoe waiting to drop.

And of course, there is! In addition to being a driven by the desire to protect his people from the Walkers, the Governor is also obsessed with eliminating anyone and everyone he sees as a threat to his community and its way of life. And his arrival could not be more timely now that Shane is dead and the series has lost its main blocking character. All throughout the series, the point has been made that in the face of annihilation, mankind’s darker nature is it’s greatest threat to survival. Because in the end, it’s not simply a matter of staying alive but of preserving humanity’s basic dignity and morality.

So far, this paradox of battling death while simultaneously trying to stay sane and decent was personified in the conflict between Shane and Rick. But from this point onward, it will be represented by the contrast between the Governor’s community and Rick’s people. After all, it’s pretty clear point at this point that the Governor will be looking for them now that he knows that Andrea had companions who might still be alive somewhere. And given what he did to the squad of military personnel, he’s not likely to take to their existence too nicely!

Now on to episode four, which is downloading, err, playing right now! I shall return with more on season three just as soon as I’ve watched it!

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