We get our two stories mooshed together again, but it doesn’t mean that it’s going to be any easier. Prepare to get shot in the face.
A dead deer is dragged off to nowhere. We’re at the prison, obvious from the very gorgeous misty painting of the guard tower. Walkers eat half of deer, and smelling more icky blood, move towards the other half of Mr Deer dangling from the ceiling.
We find a pair of feet running about, an axe breaking locks, and finally, the heart of the deer being laid down like a tiny cube of bread for zombies to follow. This is a scheme! Who is this person?
The prison gang is salvaging vehicles so they can transport permanently dead walkers further away from the scene. Carol notes that they could use Glenn and Maggie, and Daryl casually points to the guard tower. Rick is all, “Eh? Weren’t they there last night?” Daryl then calls them out. Then Glenn emerges disheveled, shirtless, and uncomfortable, going, “H-hey, what’s up guys?” which really is an “Err, let’s not make it seem like I was just banging my girlfriend all night and morning.” I’m not sure if Daryl means the double entrendre when he asks Glenn, “You comin’?” Everyone giggles and almost knee-slaps like they’re thirteen years old finding out that their friends are secretly doing it. Hur hur!
T-Dog’s about to talk to Rick when Axel and Oscar show up. Clearly Rick isn’t happy that they’re breaching the agreement by being in their yard. But what are two guys to do when they’re all alone dragging and burning dead bodies outside and continually attracting walkers and being stuck in the horrible cycle forever?
Axel wibbles for the team to take them in, which is expected, but Oscar? Looks like he’s shoved his pride and embraced being practical. Rick, still hardened by his last outing with them, refuses, and Oscar demonizes our surefooted leader by likening his prison buddies to good guys, unlike Tomas and Andrew. (They cut to a shot of Carol; that headwrap is really distracting.) He explains that they’d rather “hit that road than go back to that shithole”.
Loving how the first thing Rick does is turn to Daryl for a verdict. Nuh uh, Dixon head shakes, then they lock the convicts up again so they can get off their property.
I LOVE that Rick listened to T-Dog’s opinion, who GAVE IT. And oh my god. Is the team… making him significant?! Even if they didn’t take his vote, this one’s a proud mama. The fact that he believes in being humane, fully aware of the risk and making a balanced, calculated argument, is him being far less annoying and sounding less self-righteous than Dave. Also, Daryl partially agreed with him because of it. It just makes him a total stand-up guy.And you know, maybe that’s why I back him. He does what he has to do without complaints, even if it’s only means being a plot device or just a bit player in the background. He’s more observant than he realises. Theodore Doug, moving up in the world. /sniff
In the end, Rick still puts his leader foot down and outright refuses to entertain the thought of including Axel and Oscar into their family any longer.
Back in Woodbury, Michonne is snooping around. She finds bullet holes, checks the mounted gun, and discovers some blood on the truck that was involved in the ambush on the soldiers. She’s on to you, Gov.
The Gov propositions her, tries to get her on his side by subtly buttering her up so she’ll stay. But she’s not buying it. Even the National Guard fell, she points out. She tries to unravel his lie to the town by throwing out hypotheses about what happened with the soldiers who died out there. The Gov deflects them with skill. She asks about the bullet holes; Gov says it was bandits that did it. She brings up the recently deceased pilot Wells; he says the guy went out with honor and was cremated.
But Michonne’s not easy to fool. She can smell bull from a mile away. Danai Gurira’s acting is much better this week; more range, less sour pout. Could use more of this!
Rick informs T-Dog that they’ll give a week’s worth of supplies to give to the prisoners and send them on their way. Rick, taking his advice. Score! Rick is just making sure the group is safe, asking if T-Dog preferred their people’s blood on their hands or the prisoners’ – “Neither,” he picks. And it makes Rick think about it for a split second. Very nice touch.
Meanwhile, Daryl starts up his bike with the mother-of-all-zombie-attracting-noises and Axel offers to spruce it up if it would get him in the team’s good books. Oscar just thinks it’s unbelievable how pathetic he is for even trying.
Beth and Lori have found Hershel a pair of crutches. Hershel’s back to being a badass, walking with his one leg so fast. “Imma go for a run and you ain’t gon’ stop me!” he basically says. I can’t wait until he’s galloping on those walking aids and using them as super nunchucks. He’s that kind of guy. What a great moment.
Michonne is planning their route and timings for departure, thinking about moving along the coast where she thinks they’re safer and could find a boat to escape somewhere, an island, maybe. Andrea’s just sitting around, reverting to the character I really despised in early season 2. She’s obviously really comfortable where she is and tired of the nomadic lifestyle. I understand where she’s coming from and why she’s acting this way, but I don’t like it. Just because you live in comfort doesn’t mean that it doesn’t come with strings. Life isn’t that easy. I can’t wait until she realises how naive she’s been during the whole time in Woodbury.
What I like about the dynamic now is that Michonne will always trust in Andrea, no matter what. That’s probably her only huge weakness. Her cautiousness is in her nature, and I mean, something had to have happened to wield such strong allegiance with Andrea. I’m sure that she knows what Andrea’s thinking, with blondie trusting the Governor. What I can’t figure out, however, is if survival will be the only thing Michonne is thinking about if Andrea wants to go her own way. She seems to be quite astute, actually.
Just a bite-sized scene of Glenn giving Axel and Oscar their goods before regrouping with Rick again. Axel’s still trying to appeal to the soft bits of their hearts, but Oscar’s not down with that. PSHH.
Daryl, Rick and Glenn pass through the fence. I’m impressed that they’re still conscious about saving the bullets for when it’s really necessary.Those dead bodies really are a huge problem, huh? I always thought that dead walker bodies just meant dead walker bodies, and not walker magnets. I mean, that’s why everyone smeared themselves with walker innards in the first season, right? Walkers don’t eat other walkers. So why worry about them being drawn to the bodies?
Also, an off-tangent thought – Is that dead deer gonna NYARGH itself to unlife again?
While getting the cars ready for transportation, Hershel sees the light of day again in all his one-legged glory. Everyone verbally kowtows at his old man toughness, especially Glenn. It’s so cute how he’s sad when Daryl shushes his hooting and hollering at the Doc, and Hershel’s all, “One boy day boy, I’ll beat you flat at a race” to Carl. Heartstrings.
The gang spend a brief moment being content in their little vacuum of peace. Do I see a pang of fondness in Rick’s eyes as he sees Lori and Hershel? Incredible. And Lori being shy. What is this, Temptation Island: Zombie Edition? I thought we were done with this two episodes ago. Guess I was way off the mark. I mean, this guy was hating on her all winter. I thought the relationship was in shambles. Did I miss a retcon?
Of course, my BF spoils the moment by predicting that something terrible will happen while I feel emotionally uplifted at all the figurative back-patting going on here. Please let me be sheltered from the truth a little, come on! Now that I think about it, Glenn expressing the same thing was metagenius. Right after, I imagine the writers clutching rolled up scripts in their claws and cackling, “Happiness is fleeting, fools!” as the inevitable chaos descends on our beloved cast.
And chaotic it is. The groups are split immediately when walkers show up out of nowhere. Rick screams for Lori and the safety of the baby, which still baffles me. Maybe it’s the idea of not being able to protect his unit that’s making him panicked to the extreme. He and Daryl make a dash for it while Glenn rewires up the fence; Beth and Hershel back themselves into a tiny fenced area, but not without Hershel first beating back a zombie with his crutch like a pro; T-Dog spots an open gate and both he and Carol make their way towards it while firing off their guns; Maggie calls Carl and Lori to hide away to possible safety.
But nope, them zombies are walking really fast for some reason. Did they upgrade? More corners are made and Maggie shuts irons bars behind her. Are those zombies getting fast or what?!
I have a tough time capping this because so much is happening so fast! There’s Rick rushing to unlock gates, freeing the prisoners in the process. There’s T-Dog closing the fences so the walkers can’t get in, but OMG! LOOK BEHIND! You missed one!!
“NOOOO!” My boyfriend and I yell greviously as T-Dog gets bitten. JUST AS HE GETS A FULL BODY OF DIALOGUE. What, did Joss Whedon write this episode or something? Did the writers borrow some tips? I knew it was too good to be true, dammit!
After so many episodes I’m still not used to the marvelous gore FX. The flesh ripping from his shoulder is making me wince so hard. On pure adrenaline, T-Dog takes out the zombie that bit him, and runs off with Carol.
At Woodbury, Merl’s being all yucky and smoozing on Andrea when she gives him the map to where Hershel’s farm was. “How come we never hooked up?” Merl asks, and Andrea replies, “Because you called me a whore. And a rugmuncher.” Oh snap. But he really wants to know why Andrea’s even pulling the favour for him, but her answer is simple; if it were her, she’d want the same thing.
Now my suspicion with Merle hasn’t totally gone away yet. I think that perhaps it’s just the pattern of a sociopath to have huge pangs to reunite with whoever he is tormenting (ie. Daryl) because it’s their ownership over his victim that’s acting up rather than having a genuine desire to restore the family unit. Actually, it has the potential to be really sick, but I doubt they’ll go there.
Andrea fails at hiding whatever bitterness she harboured over being left behind. Honestly, this is where I pity her the most, because the fact is that it just happened to be her. She pushes herself to believe that they went back to look for her, but we know that they didn’t (or they did, but it wasn’t mentioned). Now she’s alone, not even knowing if she matters to people she thought had her back anymore. And Merle’s trying to tap on that insecurity.
There’s no reason for him to leave Woodbury. No reason for her to either, actually. Merle puts in a good word for the Governor before he leaves her to it – the Gov helped him when he shouldn’t have. Interesting.
Back at the prison, when the fence is finally open, the fighting trio move into the area where their people have split ways. I double fist pump as Daryl cuts a walker’s head in half. Single pump as Glenn does a flying slash for 500 points. While the awesomeness continues, Rick asks Hershel and Beth where the rest have went – Lori and Carl, in particular. Nobody really knows anything, and Grimes just looks manic and close to tears from the anxiety building up inside of him.
Glenn reports that the locks on gates have been cut by an axe or bolt cutters, and they altogether suspect the prisoners of foul play. Right. On the verge of confrontation, the prison’s siren suddenly wails, drawing walkers to their location like a soup kitchen’s dinner bell. They try shooting out the loudspeakers, but alas, to no avail, so Rick points his gun at them to try and get a few answers; Oscar mentions three backup generators hooked up to a diesel tank that will kill the noise if they are disabled, which they’re supposed to be. What’s happening?! WHAT’S HAPPENING?!
Screw that. Everyone runs for cover/to stop the alarm/to wherever the hell everyone else is. Good god, this is messy.
T-Dog is staggering his way towards… I don’t really know what they’re looking for. Is there an objective? Is this blind running from danger? For all I know, they’re just finding a hole big enough for them to wait it out until zombies go away. T-Dog starts to talk about his destiny, that this was God’s plan, to help people, to be the best he can be. Carol sobs. I feel sad that this many strings of dialogue bring a terrible foreboding.
Lori, Maggie and Carl are still trying to escape from a horde that’s fast closing in – then Lori’s baby decides to kick her in the uterus. I’ve never been pregnant, so I can only liken it to a reverse crotch soccer. Great timing! Lori’s definitely sure that the baby’s coming. (On hindsight, I realise that her water never really breaks.)
Doesn’t matter. She’s got to hold it in until they can find a secure place for her child to be delivered. Close your legs and run, woman!
I must admit that the chaos is so consistently exciting on this show. There’s a gnarling zombie at every corner. Literally, too. Little details like spending seconds trying to shut a door properly or fumbling with keys to get something open is as heartstopping as any jump-shock tactics usually employed in the horror genre. Congratulations to the director/editors for making it so thrilling.
Enter a breather scene. Phew. The Governor is teeing off the top of a town barricade. Merle approaches him and the topic of looking for Daryl is brought up directly. Obviously, Gov doesn’t want his men (THE HAMMER!) running around looking for something that could be nothing while Woodbury becomes a teensy bit more vulnerable. Why sacrifice the greater good for a personal goal, right?
Merle’s stubborn about looking for Daryl, so the Governor proposes that if he can get “more concrete information,” he’ll ride shotgun with Merle. That’s going to be tough buddy, but we know he’ll do it. If he can saw his own hand off, he can find better evidence.
Rick and the guys are looking for the missing Lori, Carl and Maggie. I’d expect Glenn to be more flustered but it could be translated as having confidence in her survival skills. She was included in the clearing out team on Prison Takeover Day 1. Frantic!Rick decides to split the team to look for them and kill the generators ASAP.
Cut to the pregnancy emergency. It’s only natural that Carl and Maggie want nothing more than to not have the child born right here, right now., but Lori’s not having any of it. Poor Carl. I mean, how old is he again? His mum is going to give birth in the zombie apocalypse and he probably hasn’t even seen that chart of the female reproductive system yet. I really like how they put him in the spot. He’s totally weirded out and uncomfortable and all he can do is keep the safety off of his gun and prepare to shoot zombies if they bust through the door. What’s a boy to do?
Maggie knows a very basic thing or two about assisting in childbirth, but she just can’t tell at what stage Lori’s in. “I gotta push,” Lori insists, getting up. “I gotta push.”
Cue jaw-dropping. Incredibly, Lori is trying to push her baby out standing up good Lord. It’s as if the writers gathered in the room and said, “What’s the absolute worst possible way a woman can give birth to a baby?” and tacked it to the page.
Midway, Maggie realises that Lori’s bleeding profusely, dangerously. Something’s wrong, of course it has to be!
T-Dog and Carol are still trying to find their way out, but zombies are in the way. Business as usual! The gun Carol holds is empty, the lights are flickering on and off like crazy, and good soldier Teddy charges forward to double clothesline the walker duo so that Carol can escape. This is so sad. I can’t believe he just sacrificed himself. I mean, a noble way to go, but that’s just a whole vat of potential quickly spiraling the drain. The walkers eat him alive in the worst way possible (see: throat tearing) and Carol looks back a last time before abandoning her saviour for safety.
Andrea’s hanging out in the Governor’s house again. Looks like Michonne’s katana is still on his shelf, so what’s this about getting their weapons back when they leave? Now I’m sure she’s just turning a blind eye to it. Bad. Bad, bad, bad.
They both casually settle at the table to share some whiskey and stories. Andrea mentions that Michonne’s planning to bring them to the coast, and Gov predictably tries to make her second guess her comrade. The Gov offers her a glass to sip. Andrea confesses that she’s a weak drinker. Then he proceeds to question her about the information she gave Merle. They both understand that it’s important to let him at least see the place that his brother was last at, even if he’s going to find jack squat in the ruins of the barn.
The conversation then turns to family – we know Andrea lost hers awhile ago. He lost his wife to an accident before the apocalypse hit, mentions a daughter, but we don’t see her around. Curious. We can speculate about that, but hopefully the show will take us there somewhere down the road instead.
There is something in the way that the Governor’s face changes as he watches Andrea take a mouthful of liquor. He watches her. Like a predator. Like Baby I wanna put your head in my tank creepazoid vibes. David Morrissey does the sex-you-without-sexing-you serial killer thing well. He’s suggestive without doing anything at all. It’s just words coming out of his mouth but it’s his eyes that really do the talking. It makes me feel kinda nervous for Andrea, even if I find her backsliding into character abyss.
“The scenery has, the landscape. But the way we think…” The air holds thick; I think Andrea finally starts feeling the slithery energy a little. Yes. Get out of there, girl. Run back to Michonne!
Before she gets to leave, the Gov tells her that she’s always welcome to return to Woodbury – and that his name is Philip. He steps forward, looms over her as if to make a move, but simply opens the door. Somewhat lame !psych! moment, but I have to admit that I held my breath for the few milliseconds.
The guys finally find the generator room that will hopefully end all this madness. Oscar rushes to Rick’s side to figure out how to shut everything down while Daryl does his best to keep the walkers at bay by the doors. A simple trigger makes everything stop, ohhhh but not the action though, because Andrew leaps out of nowhere and tries to plow Rick’s head in with an axe!
Some scuffling, gun drops, Daryl can’t hold the door anymore, continues being a bad ass by crossbowing and stabbing like the don he is. It’s hilarious the way Andrew gets hit with an empty gas can thrown by Oscar, who just so happens to pick up Rick’s revolver and points it in his general direction.
I totally called Andrew’s non-death, but the appearance still a major shock, as much as a shock that his real sudden death is shortly after. Yup. As a clever show of loyalty, Oscar does the cool thing and kills his “own guy”, then lets Rick have his gun back. Now that’s the way to earn someone’s trust.
Also, did anyone notice the way Dixon crab-walked/snuck up Oscar with the knife as this was happening? TOO FUNNY. Scared out of his wits! Gotta love Norman Reedus’ work on this show.
Rick finally turns the power off, and we shift our attention back to the Lori situation.
Again, props to Lauren Cohan. She’s so convincingly distressed about wanting to save both mother and child that my heart aches to see her forced to do what’s necessary, forced to pick the baby, unsure and without confidence about how to do a delivery right. And the look on their faces when Lori suggests using Carl’s knife. Huge lump in my throat watching that.
Randomly placed scene to break tension – Andrea has bought into the Governor’s lies and tries to talk Michonne out of skipping town for at least a couple of days.
Michonne’s mad, so she leaves.
Okay, we’re at exciting stuff again. Maggie sees Lori’s old C-section scar and tells her to cut her open there. Wow. First, this explains why vaginal birth just wouldn’t work. Lori’s already got a C-section done with Carl. Second, I’m never going to look at the scissor guide on packaging the same way again. Yeesh.
This is makes this the best and worst forever – Lori seems like she’s going to die, painfully. I know it’s supposed to be tanks of tears flowing from my ducts, but deep inside I only wondered that with all this talking, how is that baby not going to come out blue in the face?
Carl and Lori actually share a nice moment, but I find that it’s a case of too little too late for Lori’s redemption. I sit on the fence. It adds some wonderful weight to both Carl and Maggie’s character growth, which is why I thought it to be excellent, rather than seeing it as the pinnacle of Lori’s arc. When Lori gives her last goodbyes, telling him to take care of Rick, and to do the right thing in the world, I can’t imagine how much all of this is messing with his mind. He’s gonna grow up so screwed up. Maybe he’ll be Batman. I feel so bad for the kid now. See show? Look what you did. You turned my opinion around. If only that happened sooner with Lori instead of all the shenanigans you put us through in season 2.
After some mega hugs and wailing and sniffling, Lori tells Maggie to kill her extra so she won’t rise again. It can’t be Rick. As they prep the knife, the music here is really special. It definitely brought the feels, added the intensity.
Maggie slices Lori open, and with a final scream, she passes out into oblivion. (I’m sorry to be so insensitive, but I feel a wash of relief when it happens.) Ugh, this is gruesome. Hand on the insides! No!
The baby is quiet and still when Maggie pulls it out, and I yell again as she tips the baby over to give it some patting on the back, forgetting that babies aren’t born with teeth. For a minute, I really thought it was dead – this is the grimmest show of the century, you know. No one really smiles or is happy about it, which makes me think about how terrible it must be for the kid to grow up surrounded by people who partly resented the fact that its mother’s life had to be sacrificed to bring it into the world.
Quick to leave, Carl remembers what happens to dead people, and decides that he should do the job himself. My mum, my responsibility. Oh, this is getting difficult. We are shown Carl’s memory of his dad teaching him about the inevitability of death back at the barn, and it’s almost like an epiphany to him. Maggie checks outside, determines it’s not safe, turns back, and hears the gunshot of Carl being a tough kid; Carl brisks past her wordlessly.
Rick, Daryl and Glen find the emasculated, chewed up body of T-Dog being ravaged by walkers – Rick shoots them, and everyone puts on their sad face. Next to his corpse is Carol’s headscarf, which Daryl picks up. I hope they’re not going to launch another separation sub-plot with Carol because as great as they’ve rehabilitated the character, it’s hard enough to bear the two we already have now. Don’t break the momentum!
Hershel and Beth report that no one’s made it back outside thus far. Right now, Daryl’s they-didn’t-make-it response to Hershel’s inquiry informs us that they think Carol is dead, heightening my fear of having another storyline branch from this.
Rick doesn’t believe that his wife and kid are dead yet, but as he barks out orders, the gurgling noises of a baby interrupts him. Look at that hope on his face. Heart-clutching.
Only Carl and Maggie emerge with the baby in her arms. The news is resoundingly clear in Maggie’s choked sobbing, on her cried out face.
Andrew Lincoln does his best work here as he grieves almost immediately, consumed in wild denial and angry, tearful groaning. It’s beautifully juxtaposed with Carl’s calm, quiet sadness, which I assume is him taking it upon himself to be the man that his mom asked him to be. I always feel terrible for kids who have to grow up so fast. And look at how sad Hershel looks beside Beth.
Rick collapses on the ground, much like the rest of us who’ve just been emotionally exhausted by this episode.
What? No! It’s JUST SOMETHING IN MY EYE, OK?
Just a final note – I think it might have been better to do away with Rick and Lori making eyes at each other like their relationship is on the mend. His level of grief would have made more sense if he shut her out completely, because then we would know that there was a myriad of regrets for not being able to make nice before her death. That’s probably the only detail I would have wanted left out in the final product, because after all, it needs to be consistent with what’s happened in the past.
Rick has been hating Lori all winter and we know that he’s taking his own sweet time to not be a complete jerkwad towards her. It would just be more painful for him to realize that he squandered the precious time he had with them by placing his own ego/hubris (minor) at the forefront instead. Protecting Carl and Lori was really what defined him at first, and the trait was put on the backburner to make way for his rise to leadership. It’s always been there though, and I really appreciate the callback to this responsibility he pinned to himself. So in that aspect, the grief makes sense because he failed, but didn’t deserve that amount. Regret would be the thing to tip the scale here.
That’s my two cents anyway. This is going to be a long week.