Welcome back Walking Dead fans! Last time, it seems I made a bit of a mistake and would like to rectify it first. According to updates from IMDB, season 3 will be running for a full 16 episodes instead of ten. However, this was the last episode before the mid-season break, so it did have its share of climaxes and more cliffhangers. When they come back in February, we can look forward to another 8 episodes!
Okay, moving on to what happened this week. A lot of thrills, kills, and chills as the two camps collide, new players are introduced, and some serious shit hits the fan!
Made To Suffer:
The episode opens with a new party fighting their way through the forest. After fighting their way through a slew of Walkers, one of their party is bit and they come upon the prison. Finding a collapsed wall, they make their way inside one of the uncleared cell blocks. Over in Woodbury, the Governor continues to try and reach his daughter Penny, relying on the techniques Milton was using to try and trigger memories. After his attempts fail, he becomes angry and throws her back into her cell.
At the prison, we see tension growing as Axel appears to be taking an interest in Beth and Carol tells him to back off. He explains that it’s just that she is the only available woman since Maggie is taken and Carol is a lesbian, or so he thought. She corrects him on this, and laughs when he begins making some clumsy advances towards her.
Shortly thereafter, Hershel, Carl and Maggie hear screams coming from down below cell block and realize they have company. Carl goes down to investigate alone, and finds the new arrivals in the midst of a fight with many Walkers. He tells them to follow him and covers their escape while they head up top, bringing their bit friend with them. When they reach a cell, Carl locks then in and tells them to take care of their friend. They reluctantly agree and kill her with a hammer before she can turn.
Over at Woodbury, Rick, Daryl, and Oscar make their way into town with Michonne’s help. Once they reach the heart of town, they realize that she has no idea where Glenn and Maggie are being kept and things begin to stall. However, they are alerted to their location as an escape attempt by Maggie and Glenn goes south and gunfire erupts. Merle and his henchmen take them prisoner again and prep them for execution, but Rick and his party manage to show up just in time.
Using smoke grenades, they steal Glenn and Maggie away and head for the wall. Daryl narrowly misses seeing his brother in the confusion and the party falls back to a nearby house. Michonne then wanders off to sneak into Governor’s apartment, as she clearly has some unfinished business with him. The Governor meanwhile begins deploying his men once words get around that they have intruders. Naturally, Andrea wants to help but he forbids it, since he knows that any contact with her old companions will go sideways on him. At the same time, Daryl learns that his brother is out there and wants to find him, but Rick refuses him.
However, both fail as a gunfight ensues in the streets and everything hits the fan. Using more smoke grenades to cover their escape, Maggie, Rick and Glenn make it over the wall, but Oscar is killed. Rick also has a flashback as he shoots an approaching man who reminds him of Shane, and Daryl stays behind to provide covering fire but gets cut off from the rest. Andrea is also caught in the fight and begins laying down fire with her pistol, and pursues the Governor to his apartment where they both run into Michonne.
Before they arrive, Michonne finds the Governor’s private room and sees his collection of Walker heads and his daughter Penny. When she realizes what Penny is, she draws her sword and prepares to kill her. However, the Governor shows up then and pleads with her not to hurt his daughter, but Michonne kills her and the two get into it.
After much struggling, during which the aquariums holding the Walker heads are smashed, Michonne grabs a shard of glass and stabs the governor in the eye. She is about to kill him too when Andrea shows up and stops her. Michonne runs out, leaving Andrea with the mess of heads and the Governor as he clutches the body of his dead daughter and sobs.
Afterward, she and the Governor talk while he recovers in bed, but he doesn’t have much in the way of answers. Outside of town, Rick pulls his gun on Michonne and demands answers. The Governor calls a town meeting and tells them they were attacked by “terrorists” and that Merle was working with them. He’s taken prisoner and reunited with his brother, and the townspeople begin to call for blood!
The mid-season finale was quite the climax/cliffhanger. On the one hand, we got to see the first of many confrontations between the Governor and the prison-folk, which was been building up since season 3 began. And now that he’s missing one eye and been deprived of his daughter, the stage is now set for the one-eyed Governor of the comic fame to lead an assault on the prison itself. All the teasers for the rest of season three point towards this, and I for one look forward to it!
Also, there were two key reunions in this episode which deserve note, and which were well-timed to coincide with one another. On the one hand, we get to see Merle and Daryl reunite after two and a half seasons apart. On the other, Andrea and Michonne meet up again and nearly come to blows in the Governor’s private room. In both instances, we have a cases of friends and family finding themselves on opposite sides in the course of a civil war. And Maggie even goes so far to characterize it for us: “All this time running from Walkers… you forget about what people do.”
This is a central theme to the story of The Walking Dead, which is how human beings inevitably turn on each other when the going gets tough. Already, we’ve seen cases of this with Merle and Shane, how one proved too unruly and dangerous to have around and the other went insane with jealousy and had to be killed. Now, it will reach fruition as the Governor’s camp and the Prison camp go to war, both in the name of protecting their own.
Once again, it was really nice to see Michonne kicking some ass! For a long time now, a fight has been brewing between her and the Governor and it finally happened. I was surprised the Governor held his own for as long as he did, but white hot rage probably had something to do with that. In the end though, Michonne got the upper hand on him and would have removed his head, had Andrea not shown up to save his ass. Damn you Andrea! Michonne tried to warn you, but you just wouldn’t listen! And you’re STILL getting in the way! But of course, that’s what keep the plot going so I can’t criticize too much…
At the same time, we got a little plot development on the quieter side of things, that being back at the prison facility. First up, Axel is beginning to show signs that he might have been a sex offender in his previous life. Though he claims he’s just a desperate man looking for love and is limited in his options, one can’t help but feel that he could become dangerous before long and will have to be “dealt with”. Again, I’ve got some insider knowledge on this, having read some of the comics, but I’m anxious to see how that pans out.
And of course, the prison group has received an infusion of new blood with the arrival of four new people. After being rescued by Carl, there was the usual standoff moment as he was forced to lock them in a room after they finished off their friend. Not much in the way of explanations were needed, as its clear than any newcomers in this world have to earn the trust of others before being welcomed in to their community. Luckily, Tyreese, the de facto leader of the group, seems to understand and is willing to play ball, if only because they have no other options.
But of course, the cliffhangers… First off, we’ve got Daryl and Merle who find themselves reunited under the worst of circumstances. The Governor has labelled them “terrorists” and clearly means to kill them. Meanwhile, Rick and his party are torn of what to do, whether they should beat it back to their own camp or try and mount a rescue. Me, I’m guessing they’ll head back to the prison while the Governor tries to get what info he can from Daryl. And in the end, Merle will defect and try to free his brother, just in time to stop the Governor’s armies for attacking the prison.
And of course, as soon as Rick and his bunch return, they will have to decide the fate of the newcomers. Once more, we can expect the usual process of back and forth where everyone wants to trust each other, but no one is willing to lower their guard until they’re sure. And I imagine, Rick, Tyreese, and everyone in between will find they have no options once conflict with the Governor’s people becomes inevitable.
But of course, all that’s speculation. Mainly, I’m just looking forward to see what they do with it and am pretty pleased with the direction it’s all been taking so far. Here’s to the second half of Season 3, coming in February of 2013!