Hey look, it’s the Michonne and Andrea show! Maybe not as hair-tearingly exciting as the past Prison Adventure Time episodes, but it’s setting up our gang for some serious sanity-sucking juju. I’ll wait, good things. I’ll wait.
A helicopter packed with military crew goes down in the middle of Nowhere Forest, how convenient. On the outskirts of said forest, Andrea and Michonne have caught sight of it and bring their zombie donkeys towards the crash site. Credits!
By Andrea’s barfing, the asprin is doing nothing for her. Michonne chains her pets to a skinny tree and hands Andrea a gun before moving forward to survey the damage – and yup, man split in half with his intestines all over the place. The gore budget is still healthy.
Some cars pull up to the same site to check out the place as well. The guys from them make short work of the tiny stream of zombies coming in; they seem to know what they’re doing with their fancy bow work and mean-looking guns they don’t fire because they’re smart enough to keep to the Zombie Survival Guide.
Their leader apparent proceeds to kill the fallen soldiers who have recently turned. Sadly for us, Michonne has little choice but to behead her walker transportation mules because they’re drawing too much attention with their hungry growling. Zombies want their nom noms too, you know?
Just when we think all’s clear, the ladies are met with a familiar voicefacepersonguy and his gun; it’s MERLE! Crazy one-armed Merle with a bayonet arm, handy (ha!) for stabbing things up the chins. Ohhhh sheeeet, Daryl’s going to be pissed-off happy with a straight face! Andrea faints appropriately at the turn of events, and I clutch my stomach in controlled giggles.
By the time we come around, the dynamic duo have found themselves in what seems to be a safe haven for these well-practiced survivors. Merle struts in, pulls up a chair, and presses Andrea for news about his kid brother. Aww. Merle still cares.
Disappointingly, Merle’s not as menacing or much of a lunatic as he used to be. He’s probably still racist. But I suppose this watering down has a lot to do with what we didn’t see during all the time that we missed him. Lots of things can happen in a year and a half or more. And he’s seems to be really docile in front of the Governor, which means… He’s the one to watch out for. It’s always the presidential candidate!
Andrea’s more open to sharing about the fate of the Atlanta survivors than I expected. They did leave Merle to die after all, and in the beginning everyone was way less cynical, ethical and weary of each other. Michonne just steadily watches on, and she’s probably as equally surprised as I am that her partner’s just doling out the info to him like cupcakes at a bake sale. Dear god, is Andrea backsliding into idiocy again? Because if she is, then please keep her away from civilized societies.
Michonne demands for their weapons and stash back, but naturally things aren’t so simple. Enter the leading man we encountered earlier, who whispers something in Merle’s ear. Michonne assertively demands for their stuff again, and the Governor’s all like, “Yup, when you get out of here.” Riiiight. Will they now?
While Andrea makes it seem like they’re being held hostage, the Gov’s got a way of twisting words around to make it sound like pleasant bunny petting. I get really suspicious when charming characters have a knack for manipulating situations and subtext. Turning “prisoners” into “guests”, “killing” into “euthanasia”. If not a minor penis, we all know upstanding men like these have some kind of deep-seated problem in their psyche.
And the way his men are so subdued and well-behaved in his presence? Those guys already have serial rapist vibes. So for them to be afraid… He must be a pretty nasty beast.
Governor offers to give them back everything and even more useful supplies like medicine… and a car for the girls to drive off into the sunset. But only in the morning when it won’t draw attention to the town. Walking from what looks like a massive mansion, he leads them outside to torch-lit streets and pavements.
“Welcome to Woodbury,” he introduces casually. Andrea looks like she’s about to cry, “It’s bee-yoo-teeful!” as Michonne carries on being suspicious of everything.
They stop at one of the barricades of the town, where Merle assumes watch with the other patrolmen and takes out some walkers wandering within range with a silenced rifle. At the same time, Gov explains that the men guarding the vicinity aren’t military but are in fact self-trained survivors. Most of their weapons are scavenged, and all the walls of the town are stringently guarded, much to Andrea’s disbelief, because she hasn’t seen another soul in sight. They always deal with the bodies in the morning, because “the odor makes people uneasy”.
Man, this guy is smooth. It’s making me uncomfortable, because he’s hinting that his team’s crisis management and cover-up skills are killer (so to speak). I smell a conspiracy.
Next, he brings the women to their quarters, stocked with juicy fruit, comfy beds, and carpeted floors. He mentions Michonne’s sword and she gives him her, “the hell you talkin’ bout” death glare; does anyone feel like Michonne is being really intense all the time? Her narrowed eyes and upturned mouth makes for a cool signature glare the first time you see it, but it gets a little distracting sometimes. I had a hard time listening to what their guide was saying in the next scene as she explained the town’s arrangements because I was focused on Michonne’s Keanu Reeves facial mobility. A little better in range, but to the same effect.
Ok, so upon rewatch, according to their terrible guide, they haven’t had any breaches for a long while, due to a strict curfew, patrolling routines and careful noise management. Smell that? It’s steaming bull dung. Nothing runs that perfect without a hitch. The guide practically defends the strange behaviour of some guards who string up walkers for entertainment. I swear to you that everyone’s a secret psycho. Not that I’m a zombie sympathizer like I am with Cylons, but you gotta know something’s up when people are all whoopty doo about their extermination business. Wordlessly, Michonne tilts her head like “Wut?” and as usual, says absolutely nothing.
In a random room somewhere, the pilot of the plane is still alive, explaining to the Gov the dire state his camp was in and how they got to Woodbury. After a sip of water, Governor sends the doc out and asks how many people escaped in total, with a promise to bring all his men in to care for them and remove them from harm’s way. Oh boy. By the look in the Gov’s eye, he’s got something up his sleeve planned.
From the mansion, he makes his way down to what looks like a lab/mortuary where Merle and the doctor… expermient? study? on Michonne’s ex-pet’s heads. Merle gives boss the lowdown on Andrea, and has zilch on the other chick. The Gov picks up on Merle’s ties to her, and somehow manages to link it to his soft spot – Daryl. Gov actually makes it sound like he cares!
Governor’s interest in Daryl makes me excited. Could everyone’s favourite no-sleeves second-in-command be getting a major arc? Or maybe he just want more intel on this wandering Atlanta band of survivors who kick ass and take names. There’s no way in hell is he just purely concerned with Merle’s heart matters, sad eyes or no.
After Merle leaves, the Doc begins his little tutorial about zombie-taming – it’s not only possible, but serves as a major behavioral modifier of sorts. “Take away their ability to eat, and they lose interest in it.”
Getting the heebie jeebies looking at the zombies and their constantly curious eyeballs surveying the room blankly. The Gov is fascinated with Michonne’s jawless, body-less buddies and the Doc’s suggestion to use them as walker repellant. He even sticks his finger into the stringy fleshiness of a face hole that was once called a mouth to test out this “docile” behaviour. Who in their right mind does that? Yeesh.
The Gov says he needs the Doc and makes reference to his tea. Either something’s up or that’s a euphemism I don’t really want to know about. Or I’m just reading too much into it. It seems like there’s always been protocol for strangers entering town, and Doc expected the newbies to suffer a different fate, or rather, have a different tool (NOT MERLE THE HAMMER) deal with them. But trust the Gov’nah, ey?
Time for brekkie. Gov says he’s impressed with the girls for making it so far; Andrea assumes that everyone is a misogynist. Sigh, she’s going back to her old ways. I have no idea how people in the show still don’t get that society-bound labels are irrelevant the instant everyone is thrust into an apocalypse. You kidding me? I’m pretty sure the people who die first are the ones who still think their women should be at home untinning the beans while the men clean out their rifles.
Which, by the way, is actually happening in the town itself. A bunch of dudes guarding the parameters are armed to the teeth while everyone else is defenseless. What’s up with that? If this guy was really concerned with the safety of his town, he’d give every child, woman and old person something to fend off enemies. Even a pair of chopsticks.
As the Governor’s verbally slow clapping the girls on their survival skills, Michonne spots her precious katana on one of his display shelves. Be on your way in the morning, eh? My ass! They’ll be getting out of there in body bags, more likely.
The Doc then brings up the humanity of walkers – some say that there’s still a little of who they are left in those rotting carcass body bits. He’s very politically correct, this guy. I don’t like him. His resemblance to Val Kilmer is striking. He then asks Michonne about her pet walkers, inferring that they meant something to her before. Her reaction confirms it all. Although silent, she looks like it struck a nerve.
It turns out that the Governor’s mission is to ensure that everyday living was kept the way it was before the apocalypse. Of course, his political vision appeals to Andrea more than it does to her partner. He then makes eyes at her for a split second. DON’T DO IT, GIRL. We’ve progressed so much! I know it’s been 8 months. KEEP IT IN YOUR PANTS!
At this point, there are more questions about tea. Hmm. One of Gov’s lackeys come bearing news of something. It’s an emergency ladies, gotta go! Michonne gets up and asks for her weapons the third time. Despite how I find her eyework funny in large doses, I’m really glad that there’s someone around who can really see through BS and conspiracies. It’s being stubborn, but it’s being clever too. As expected, the boss puts it off by asking them to stay and look around in case they “might like what you see”. There! He’s using his flirting cassanova dictator voice again! Andrea considers, Michonne’s like, “Uh… yeah.” on her face.
The town actually looks really good and normal outside. Must be the beautiful weather. Michonne immediately tells Andrea that she doesn’t trust the Governor AT ALL, no way Hosea, meesa no likey. “Have you ever trusted anybody?” Andrea retorts.
Love the way she just says “Yeah.” It’s the vocal replica of her expression back at the house. Andrea continues showing how fast she’s trusting the Govs, and sort of rags Michonne out for showing a sliver of emotion. Looks like she doesn’t really like to talk about herself or her history, or much at all. Andrea’s trying to make sense of her getting rid of the Walking Inventories, but Michonne assures that it’s a lot easier than she thinks. Anyone shout BECAUSE U LUV HER here? It’s nothing, just a feeling. Michonne walks away from the convo just like that because she’s gotta be the cool one when everyone’s being a dick.
The Governor’s emergency is actually driving to a makeshift army campsite, raising a white cloth and telling the survivors that their lieutenant Wells is alive. Then they shoot up the place. What a yucky ambush. These are military men! To be fair, I’d be threatened if I encountered a gang of military personnel, but I’m quite certain that the writers didn’t aim to make us feel endangered by the presence of army guys. My boyfriend predicted the shooting the moment they arrived onsite, and the next thing I said was they’re probably going to haul all the bodies and experiment on them. ‘Cos Walking Dead is that kind of show. Arms and fresh ammo are collected. Governor kills a fleeing soldier, and orders an uneasy Asian dude to stab the guy’s brain.
A town meeting is called in the open. Gov tells the town about the pilot they brought in and his comrades who were (insert quoting fingers) felled by zombies. Yes, audience, these are lies. We totally knew this guy was skeevy. He makes a crappy speech about what a tragedy the discovery was even if they got their stuff. Shame. Shame! Hiss! His henchmen look on, obviously knowing the truth and looking guilty/uneasy about keeping the secret. I point at the big black dude and tell my boyfriend, “He’s gonna be the first one to crack, the big guys are prone to that.” Best of all, Andrea believes in his garbage-spewing piehole. Overconfident, too trusting.
She asks for his real name. He plays coy. Never say never, she cliches. Governor walks up to her and says, “Never.” NEVAH! It pains me to see how much Andrea is into that. She’s probably looking at his ass as he’s walking away.
By nightfall, the Governor is swigging booze in a whiskey glass. The following moments are fast and lovely and chilling at the same time; here we get a tiny morsel of who The Governor is – once a loving family man, now banging the town guide. He sets his drink on the mantel and goes into his secret room of Immense Privacy, where I first thought had a huge TV screen of static because of the camera angle and strategic lighting. It has to be something weird right? Like he’s perving on Andrea showering or reveling in some old BDSM VHS tapes. I mean, the music’s going into crescendo, there’s bubbling noises and they’re doing a Walking Dead zooming out version of “What’s in the booooo-ox?!” so it must be pretty bad.
Yeah, it turns out that I’m not twisted enough to write on The Walking Dead because he has aquariums FULL of eye-darting walker heads, including Michonne’s walkers and hey – it’s the lieutenant pilot from earlier. Of course that guy’s dead, what was I thinking?
What does a man do with these things? Seriously!! Even two exclamation marks aren’t enough to express how creepy that is.
You know, in retrospect, there were a lot of lines and scenes that could be written and delivered differently to make us feel torn between suspecting the Gov and realising that he was just genuinely protecting the safety of his community. He could’ve mirrored Rick in a way. And then it would be great to eventually realise that if Rick went super dark all the way, this was probably what he would end up as. But alas, no such luck. The Gov’nah was written and portrayed to be less dimensional than we hoped, and he’s made out to be an outright baddie with a psycho streak. Hopefully we’ll see him grace the grey areas more often as time goes by.
Not the best episode, but we all know that it’s important set up for if/when Rick’s team comes in with crossbows flying. Will T-Dog be riding in on a galloping mastodon? Will Michonne ring the town gong and draw walkers of the world to it? Can Lori die by then? Will Daryl continue tearing the sleeves off all the shirts he owns?
I can’t wait for Rick to eye stab the shit out of this guy.