The Walking Dead, Season 3 Episode 5

Hello all and welcome back to my ongoing review of AMC’s The Walking Dead. Season three has now reached the halfway mark, and the two-prongedstory is beginning to really drop some bombs on us, the viewing public! After last weeks’ hefty dose of trauma – i.e. Lori dying and Rick finally snapping – I was curious to see how this week’s episode was going to lighten things up again. What’s more, I had to know if they had really killed Lori off, or that was just a screw to the audience to get them to tune back in for this week’s episode. Needless to say, they were messing around…

In short, the midway mark in this season saw the resolution of the prisoner situation inside the jail. After killing Andre, the escapee who vowed revenge, Axel and Oscar seem to be merging in with the rest. At the same time, the loss of Lori, Carol and T-Dog was mitigated somewhat by the arrival of a new member – Rick and Lori’s baby girl.

Meanwhile, over the in the town of Woodbury, the divide between Andrea and Michonne finally results in a break, with Michonne leaving and Andrea staying behind. However, after witnessing an evening of special festivities put on the Governor, Andrea begins to question her decision to stay. And it’s also abundantly clear from what the Governor has going on behind closed doors that he has not accepted the loss of his family and that that is what drove him to madness in the first place.

Say the Word:
The episode opens on Rick, who is virtually catatonic after receiving the news that Lori is dead. His grief quickly turns to rage and he grabs an axe, proceeding inside to kill whatever remains of the Walkers who entered the prison. Meanwhile, Hershel tells them that the new baby needs formula or she can expect to die within a few days. Maggie and Daryl hop on his motorbike and make for a nursery which they observed in the nearest town. There, they find some diapers, formula, and a possum hiding in one of the closets. Daryl shoots the possum and declares they now have some fresh meat for dinner!

Meanwhile, Rick busies himself with cutting through all the Walkers that are still down below. Glenn tries to talk him down but fails, as Rick seems borderline psychotic and unreachable. After throwing him aside and going off to kill more, he finally finds his way to the room where Lori had her C-section and died. He finds a bullet in the floor and a blood trail leading into a passageway nearby, realizes that Carl couldn’t bring himself to shoot her and that she turned. After putting a bullet through the head of her bloated Walker corpse, he begins stabbing her swollen belly over and over…

Over in Woodbury, we find the Governor combing the hair of a small Walker, who apparently used to be his daughter. Her name was Penny, and it seems that he is keeping her secured in his office where no one can find her. Meanwhile, Michonne continues to investigate, hoping to find some evidence that the Governor is not who he appears to be. After retrieving her sword and reading some disturbing entries in his diary (which seem to involve the name Penny) she overhears the Governor and his men talking about holding some festivities. His lead researcher seems opposed to the idea, but eventually concedes.

Michonne then finds her way to where some Walkers are being kept in a cage and kills them all. When the Governor’s men catch up to her, he once again extends an offer to join him, but Michonne pointedly refuses (i.e. she points her sword into his chin)! At the mention of the name Penny, the Governor becomes quite concerned, as he thinks Michonne found her in his office, instead of simply reading her name from his diary. She makes one final attempt to convince Andrea to come with her, but fails. To her surprise though, they open the gates and let her go, leaving a saddened Andrea behind.

The Governor tells her to cheer up, as they are going to be having a special event that evening to cap off the celebrations that have been going on for days. However, she is horrified to find that the festivities are a bare knuckle fight between Merle and one of the other sentries, and the fight takes place in a ring surrounded by chained Walkers. The Governor explains its all staged and designed to make the people unafraid of the Walkers, but she is still incensed by it and leaves in a huff.

Glenn digs some graves for the dead, which accounts for one-third of their group. The deaths of Carol, T-Dog, and Lori are felt all around, but Glenn gets some unexpected help from Axel and Oscar who offer to help him dig graves. The baby also appears to be doing well, and Carl suggests naming her after those they’ve lost, eventually settling on his mother’s name. Daryl lays a flower on Carol’s grave, the same one he showed to her when they were looking for Sophie which commemorates the Trail of Tears and all the children that went missing there. And down in his cell, next to Lori’s corps, Rick is surprised to hear (amongst other voices in his head) the phone ringing, and picks it up…

Summary:
This episode excelled for a few reasons. For starters, we finally see the break between Andrea and Michonne occur, the timing of which couldn’t be better (or worse, in Andrea’s case). After finally telling Michonne she thinks her fears are groundless and she intends to stay, she gets a firsthand preview of the Governor’s madness. In time, she’s likely to get more, and her relationship with the Governor is likely to become strained, as Michonne’s was. This in turn is likely to lead to an escape attempt or a rescue attempt by Michonne. Needless to say, it won’t be pretty!

Second, this episode, picking up where the last left off with the prison debacle, showed that no one in the cast is safe. The loss of Carol and T-Dog was not too devastating since neither were main characters, but the death of Lori was nothing if not surprising. Rick is now experiencing a psychotic break, Carl is without a mother, and the group is reeling from the loss of a third of its members. This is in keeping with the spirit, if not the letter, of the graphic novel where no one in the cast is safe!

And I also liked what they did with the gladiator fight. It was an effective way of showing the Governor’s dark side, without being too over the top. Had she found the room full of heads, or simply been thrown into a dank cell full of corpses, that would have been too much. It’s much more entertaining and suspenseful to see the Governor turn bad as a result of an escalating situation between him, Andrea and Michonne. It also fits with his motivation, which is to keep his own safe from any and all threats, as he sees them.

Based on the previews which also came at the tail end, it has been hinted that Michonne will meet up with Maggie and Glenn while they are out searching for supplies, and that Andrea will attempt to flee Woodbury. I’m also looking forward to seeing just what the phone call was about, as it’s not entirely clear if Rick’s being contacted by the other members of the group, or if he’s experiencing a psychotic episode. Could go either way…

The Walking Dead, Season 3 Episode 2

Welcome back to The Walking Dead, Season Three! I tell ya, one can wait so long for a show to premier again that by the time it gets going, they find themselves falling behind on their watching and reviewing. Would you believe I didn’t get to watching the latest episode til this morning? Yeah, it’s crazy I know. But I hope this review makes up for that and piques the interest of anyone who has yet to watch it.

Now rumor had it that this episode was the best one yet. That’s a pretty tall order considering that the show has set some pretty high standards thus far for action, suspense, and good old fashion gory kill fests! But I went in with an open mind and tried not to expect too much. Mainly, I just wanted to see what they would choose to reveal and what other cliffhangers we could expect.

Last, I should mention that thanks to a friend (hi, Khaalidah!) I’ve taken it upon myself to learn all I can about the comic books and how this show relates and deviates from them. Thanks to my initial research – still looking to get a comprehensive volume of the first 90 or so issues – I noticed a few things in this episode that were pretty significant as far as the overall storyline goes. But more on that later. Here’s what happened this week on The Walking Dead:

Sick:
The show picks up where the premiere left off, with Hershel bleeding on the floor from an impromptu amputation and Daryl discovering that there are inmates still alive and uninfected inside. After hurrying Hershel back to a cell where they try to stop the bleeding, Daryl, T-Dog and Rick have a strained chat with the inmates. Eventually, they come to an accommodation. In exchange for helping them clear out a new cell block for them to occupy, the inmates agree to share what’s left of the food supply with them.

At first, this doesn’t go so well as it is clear that the inmates are not used to fighting as a single, disciplined force. They make a mess of things as they come upon their first group of Walkers and begin stabbing them in the stomach and rioting on them. However, things improve with subsequent encounters, and slowly the group begins to get the hang of Rick and his group’s tactics. Namely, go for the head, stay together, and don’t let them get around you!

However, the biggest man, ironically named Tiny, disobeys these rules and slips off in the middle of an encounter, causing him to get scratched. The groups begins to debate what to do with him, but that ends when the inmates de facto leader (the only one with a gun) bashes his head in and they move on.

When they reach the cell block, a pitch battle ensues to the take out the last guarding the doors. During this fight, the same prisoner tries to take Rick’s head off, accidentally-on-purpose, and tosses a Walker on him when that doesn’t work. As soon as they kill off the last of them, he pretends it was all an accident. To this, Rick responds, “Yeah, I get it… Shit happens.” And then plunges his machete into the mans’ skull!

Another runs, and ends up getting locked out by Rick, to be eaten shortly thereafter. Of the last two, Rick and the others try to decide what to do with them. The one insists that unlike their companion, he is no killer and just wants to live. The other refuses to plead, and tells Rick to do what he will. Rick decides to spare them, and they enter the new cell block. They find that the former inmates were all shot in the head, execution style.

Meanwhile, Hershel goes from bad to better as Carl manages to slip off and find the infirmary. Coming back with gauze, bandages and peroxide, he even boasts that he killed two walkers. Naturally, his mother is incensed, but he insists he’s just looking out for the group. And the medical supplies help, as Carol gives Hershel’s stump a proper wrapping that will ward off infection. They also cuff him to his bunk, as a precaution…

What follows is on the most touching scenes as Maggie has some time alone with Hershel and tells him its okay for him to let go. Unlike her little sister Beth who hopes her father will recover, Maggie is convinced that they must be prepared for the worst, and tells her unconscious father that she and Beth will carry on as best they can. They have a close call when Hershel stops breathing and becomes suddenly reanimated after Lori gives him CPR, but everyone calms as they realize he’s still alive. He even comes out of his coma shortly thereafter to the relief and delight of everyone.

However, Carol has impending woes as she knows that Lori’s baby is due soon and may have to be removed by C-section. She doesn’t know how to do this, and at the time it seems as though Hershel will not be on hand to do it himself. Hence, she asks Glenn to help her procure a female Walker so she can practice on it. After finding and killing one in the yard, she gets to work on slicing open its stomach. As she does, she is watched from the treeline by someone… or something!

Things come together in the end as Rick and Lori have a private chat. They commend each other for their quick actions and being cool in the crisis. All in all, they agree that it was a good day. However, Rick still can’t talk about all that’s happened between them. The episode ends with him telling her how thankful they all are for saving Hershel’s life, and then leaving her alone.

Summary:
Hm, best episode yet? Not in my humble opinion, but definitely a good one! Personally, I am waiting on next week’s which the previews have indicated is where Michonne and Andrea will meet “The Governor” and be brought to his little town. What’s more, hints are given that Merle Dixon, Daryl’s crazy-ass brother from season one, will be making an appearance. If this episode had some people thinking it was the best yet, I’d tell them to wait on next week’s. Promises to be revelatory!

But of course, this weeks episode still needs a little play by play. For starters, it was damn good because of the way it juxtaposed the group’s fight to save one of his own members alongside the rather ruthless display Rick made with the prisoners. After cutting a deal with them but realizing he couldn’t trust them, he quickly dealt with their ringleader by splitting his head in cold blood! Then he even trapped another one outside where he was eaten by Walkers. As the Joker would say, “See, even to a guy like me, that’s cold!”

What’s more, hints are given that Carl is heading down the dark path as well. After running off to fetch supplies, he had absolutely no patience for his mother telling him that he took an unnecessary risk. In addition, the scene when Hershel is revived and they suspect he might be a Walker ends with Carl holding his pistol whooped out and at the ready. This, along with last weeks episode shows how Carl has progressed from little kid to dedicated killer. And when it comes to his parents, he’s showing some clear signs of identifying with his father at the expense of his mother. You might say he’s picking up on the conflict between them and picking sides.

Also, there was a little revelation that put me in mind of something I read about from the comic books. During this episode, Rick tells the prison inmates that they all have the virus, and that as soon as any of them die, they will be reanimated as Walkers. To my memory, this is the first instance of this being mentioned in the series, though I could be wrong.But if it is, it means they have now tackled an important part of the comic book series, which was the grand revelation that any one of them, including people who die while still human, has a strong chance of coming back as a Walker. Remember Shane? Well, if they choose to follow the comics on this point, Rick will have to travel back to where they buried him, unearth him, and put a bullet between his eyes.

Like I said… cold!