“Say The Word” – The Walking Dead Recap

Daryl becomes marriage material, Michonne gives Andrea an ultimatum, and Andrew Lincoln spends the whole time wandering around soullessly like Justin/Selena shippers. What a great, non-heart-in-throat episode.

We open with the suburban heaven of Woodbury. Andrea asks Doc about the event happening later, but Doc’s all coy about it.

Cut to the Mayor combing someone’s hair. We obviously know that this ain’t anybody alive.  This is the Governor we’re talking about!

“Y U NO GENTLE WITH HAIRDO?!”

Sure enough, it’s a little girl – it’s safe to assume that it’s his little girl, who he briefly mentioned to Andrea in the previous episode. It’s creepy and moving at once, because he so brilliantly displays a father’s absolute love for his child, dead or not. A man who can’t accept the reality of his daughter’s mortality. Such a twisted situation.

Now it all makes sense too. Daughter, the experimentation, the Doctor making references to the human soul remaining in a walker body – he’s looking for a cure, isn’t he? It doesn’t take much to put two and two together.

He quickly covers its head and tries to subdue it, but while struggling to calm it down, he catches sight of Michonne is staring at him from the street. Uh oh. Trouble!

I see what you did there, Gov.

Credits.

We are placed immediately in the aftermath of the previous episode. Rick is catatonic and immune to reason, so Daryl steps up to the plate and resolves to go for a milk run for the survival of Lori’s baby after Hershel confirms that she’s perfectly healthy but won’t live without formula. Dreary, because since she’s been born no one’s really expressed any real happiness over her existence and now before she can even get her other bodily functions going she’s got someone telling others what her chances of survival are like. I don’t particularly care for kids (especially the Sophie or Carl season 2 kind), but this time, don’t worry baby, I’m behind you.

The way Daryl says not her and how determined he is to save the baby’s life gives me tingles. There’s always a point when a character exhausts his hero card and starts overdoing it, but it’s impossible with Daryl Dixon. He defies all TV rules, I swear. He instructs Beth to take care of Carl and by extension, Rick, asks the rest to get their shit together and get back to living again.

Maggie wants to tag along on his excursion too because she feels responsible for what happened to Lori, but after some discussion, the car doesn’t have enough to bring them to the nearest location. So she kisses Glenn, loads up some gear and rides off on Daryl’s Wife, also known as the Noisiest Motorcycle To Exist Within 200 Miles Of Atlana.

“I wanna go.”

Meanwhile, Rick picks his hatchet off the ground and rushes back into the prison, seeking vengeance. I know he’s angry, but he’s chopping down walkers left and right like a badass. Nothing gets me going like trimming the zombie population!

At Woodsbury, the Governor reminisces about the founding days of the town when there was just 9 of them raising hell and living on spam and saltine crackers. Better than bugs and leaves, right? I wonder if the other 8 are in his display tanks right now, or chained up somewhere in the labs being farty old corpses.

At a glance, the community doesn’t look that large because they fit in a single frame. Could be an indicator of the strict practices of Mr Governor here. Or Phil. I feel weird calling him Phil. He announces to his people that it’s party time as much as it is eulogy time, ‘cos cheers to half of us being secret savages and half of us doing completely nothing right? Oh, okay, there’s, uh, gardening that was done.

During his little speech, Michonne snoops around the Governer’s quarters, and grabs her precious katana from his display shelf. Ah, united at last. I totally ship Michonne and White Katana. It’s like an Oreo cookie. Just meant to be together, not meant to be separated. Delicious. And the sigh of relief she indulges in! If there’s more marriages to be legalized in this new day and age, it should be for Michonne and her katana. I have an open mind, so might as well throw in Daryl’s polygamous thing with his bike and crossbow too.

Our ninja-emulating heroine spies an old family photo of the Governor, wife and daughter, then reaches for his personal diary. There are notes of the townpeople’s roles. Flip. There is a long list of names, with one dotted, underlined and bolded right at the bottom – Penny. Definitely his daughter. Flip. The page is filled with slanted lines of no particular meaning or pattern, just inked over and over with rows of lines tilted to the left. Flip. Now both facing pages are showing the same thing. Flip. Same with these pages. Flip, guess what?

I pity the intern who had to do this

Creaking and bumping behind one of the doors draws her towards it. We know it’s Penny, but Michonne doesn’t. I part expect the door to be kicked down and see some kid-sized walker sashimi but she’s much smarter than me about stealth, obviously. Instead she goes for the little knife to pry the door open, but the huge weapon stash catches her eye.

The sound of people approaching launches Michonne into quiet cat mode, forcing her to hide behind a random wall. It’s the Governor, Merle and the Doc, talking about the sensibility of conducting a town-wide celebration. It seems like the Doc is concerned with how much power will be left for his basement experimenting as a result of the party. He’s close to something, and it’s such hard work. He needs a little time, like 10 days’ worth of power to keep his project going, but Gov refuses, once again showing just how good he is at persuading people to adopt his way. He makes, “Don’t poop on my party” sound much better than anyone else. As expected, it works.

Finding her way outside, Michonne finds an abandoned lot, coincidentally coming across dried bloodstains and hoarse-voiced walkers locked up in a cage. This is my lucky day, she probably tells herself, as she destroys said lock. I’m going to have me some walker brunch!

Zombies stumble out of the cage and she rages on them with unbelievable precision, almost cockily. Chop! Slice! Sword hilt! Footstomp! Decaptitate! It’s like a Dynasty Warriors combo builder, man. The look of satisfaction that crosses her face brings a smile to my face as much as it does hers by the time she’s done, but the pleasure is fleeting – one of the guards catches her and drops his metal bucket of (human?) chum. Rats!

michonne making zombie sushi

Comically enough, the first thing we see is Michonne’s angry sulk. The Governor is not amused with her funny business, and she makes it clear that she’s onto him, onto whatever he’s hiding. It’s only a matter of time, Gov. She touches a raw nerve with him by mentioning Penny; a great callback to the time when she herself was pressed about her two accompanying zombie companions.  But she thinks that it’s someone he banged, which means that she thought she saw him abduct a woman and did nasty things to her. Clearly not the case. Gov is relieved she hasn’t gotten wind of the whole truth – I’m telling you, I’m totally calling it on the experimentation being a means to reverse zombification.

He rattles on about how he was about to give her back the katana but now that she’s broken the rules, she should sit in a corner and wear the dunce hat. Or, you know, wear the dunce hat outside of Woodbury. He’d like that, wouldn’t he?

When Phil holds her sword, I panic about him suddenly beheading her or some other gruesome dispatching method, but oh, nevermind. Her expert swordsmanship turns the situation and the blade end around. Right under his chin, to be exact. Death glare is delivered at the appropriate timing. Am I glad that she shuts him up because I’m slightly tired of listening to his rambling and psychoanalyzing. She is so cool. We need a someecards e-card with Michonne on it now.

Nobody propositions Michonne with her own husband!

Merle comes in to check things out, but the Gov reassures that everything is fine. He wants to see Andrea. It feels like he’s only bringing her in because he’s sour about Michonne being cooler than him and sneakier than him and being impervious to snakey manipulation.

Okay, enough about Woodbury. That place is turning into a drag. We come back to prison, and Glenn is hard at work digging graves. Oh, phooey. This is really depressing.

Axel and Oscar report the status of the prison’s perimeter, and they really still want to be part of the group. They offer condolences, and seeing Hershel come up by the fence, Glenn hesitantly decides to give them a shot at grave digging. Father-in-law MUST be tended to.

This is the nicest scene of the episode for me. Glenn and Hershel bonding. We’ve barely gotten any real time between these two characters other than the many minutes spent in the heat of a major gorefest. Glenn asks about Rick; Hershel says he hasn’t come back yet. It amazes me how everyone is letting Rick go into prison by himself when it was previously nearly overflowing with them. I know that they’re giving him a chance to mourn, but seriously? You left your leader alone to get into god knows what undiscovered dangers there are in that hotbed of zombies.

“A third of our group in one day,” Glenn sadly announces.

“Because of one asshole,” Hershel responds, deadpan. Hershel is the best.

Glenn expresses regret for not killing the rest of the prisoners, but the old man isn’t that kind of guy, even backing up the two that they’re actually left with. Why are there such cool characters on this show?! What is this phenomenon occuring?

Yo dawg, I heard you like T-Dog

We hear some heroic stories of T-Dog saving seniors with his church van when the apocalypse first hit, not to mention saving Glenn’s butt numerous times after that. “He wasn’t just a good guy; he was the best.” Aww, show. Love that bit of fan service to make up for your exceptionally poor treatment of your character that could have been incredible.

Hershel reminds him that someone had to close the gate to keep things under control and it could’ve been Maggie getting bit. Glenn looks as if he prefers the current outcome, but he adds a wishful and shameless, “I would trade in any number of people for one of our.” It should be frowned upon, but at this point of time, I really agree. I suppose that after so many months of always living the life of a nomad and going through so much danger together, your sense of loyalty will overtake your general compassion towards humanity itself.

It’s very touching when Hershel’s hand covers Glenn’s. It’s less about being in agreement and more of seeing Hershel naturally accept Glenn as a good guy over time. As good as how T-dog was described, even. Remember how he didn’t approve   of him “dating” Maggie? Now he looks at Glenn as not just the boy interested in my little girl but as an integral part of his inner circle. His son. Good times.

Cool guy Hershel not being afraid of LOVING SOMEONE

Andrea is back at the Gov’s house again. He informs her that Michonne is being trouble, killing captive biters and taking back her own sword. I’m glad to see that she finds some of what he’s saying completely weird and is defending Michonne somewhat. He insinuates that he will have to put a boot to that rebellious-but-talented ninja ass.

“What works out there doesn’t work in here. We’re not barbarians,” he tells Andrea. Cue audience laugh. Don’t we know the truth.

But then! Andrea believes the Governor and asks that Michonne, who is packing like Speedy Gonzalez, behave herself. I think blondie really just wants to stay because she hasn’t had a bath in forever. I mean, how can you give up on bath bombs, right? Screw that bitch trying to save my life. I pick this Pantene Pro-V shampoo.

Michonne is adamant about leaving. First, nobody leaves this town, she points out. At least not unless you do something bad enough for them to force you out of the gates. Otherwise, they’re trapped there forever. Of course, Andrea wants her creature comforts and basic physiological needs attended to with upgraded amenities and home-cooked meals and whiskey at arm’s reach. It’s actually understandable that she believes in what’s in front of her and won’t give it up unless Michonne has real proof that the place is as awful as it seems.

And she’s got nothing except her suspicions.”This place is not what they say it is.”

“I tried.”

Following the the lengthy trail of zombie carnage littering the prison floor, Glenn finds Rick standing by himself, in trance mode again. He tries to assure the ex-sheriff that they can just shut all the doors and it’ll be safe like it was before, but he makes the mistake of touching of Rick’s arm, which lands him in a trachea-threatening hold against the wall, then a toss aside, poor Glenn. Never poke a man who just lost his wife in the zombie apocalypse, you hear?!

Rick wordlessly continues moving through the prison aimlessly.

It looks like there are some generators that Merle and the Doc drive up to. But it’s actually a pit of careless zombies that they’re interested in, and they hoist the buggers up in a huge net. I get really unhappy when Merle messes around with walkers. Total disregard for the dangers a zombie poses. Yes, it’s in character, but it’s way too uncomfortable watching someone sticking their hands in a net of gnarling undead. He’s just asking for it.

The Doc notices something unusual in one of the biter’s eyes. Merle tosses him a Y-prong and lets the buggers loose; one immediately goes for the Doc’s arm.

Nope! No dying. The Doc is wearing BRILLIANTLY CONCEIVED DUCT TAPE SLEEVES. Yes, I am taking notes. Create duct tape clothes for end of the world. That is sheer genius, guys!

Zombie-proof arms, eff yeah

Merle kills that one easily, then performs a tooth extraction with the other zombie. What’s up with the dentistry? Is there a zombie tooth necklace somewhere that I missed out on?

Our milk formula run team has arrived at the daycare centre, abandoned as expected.

Maggie breaks the windows and climbs into what looks like a nursery and starts looting. First thought in the head: BABY ZOMBEHS. They’re going to go there, aren’t they? A burbling little undead kiddie. Look at all the paper hands up on the wall.

Both she and Daryl hear thumping and scratching as the score builds up, and move to the sound’s source. He preps his second wife, Crossbow, and looses a bolt when the cupboard door opens. I’ve never been so relieved to see a possum! Phew. No dead babies. Plus, dinner!

I AM NOT A DEAD BABY

Maggie opens the cupboard, I cringe in anticipation for a leaping dead toddler, and instead finds the formula they need for Baby to live. Huzzah.

In town, Michonne and Andrea approach one of the gates but are interrupted by puppy-eyed Merle. Apparently, people need to be escorted out after dark. Super weird. Michonne gives him version 9 of the Glare and Merle submits, but not without first telling Brownie the guard something.

Andrea brings up the Governor’s promise to let them go as and when they like, but Merle’s more concerned that she’s standing way too close to the border guard. Michonne basically says I TOLD YOU SO BITCH, and Andrea lets it stew for a moment – but wait! Merle opens the door for them. Hmm. Michonne casts her suspicious eyes on the situation, and her partner is convinced that she’s a conspiracy theorist in her past life.

Those sneaky bastards.

They spend some time bickering about going and staying, but the question is clear: Who’s actually going or staying? Andrea makes it known that she can’t allow herself to go back to the life she lived on the road with Michonne, not after a taste of the life in Woodbury, friendship or not. Must be that tea.

Andrea makes a last ditch effort to make her stay, citing that it was their goal to find a place like this to settle down and be normal again. Michonne’s not having any of it.

“Are you comin’ or not?” Michonne asks darkly, a second time. My guess is obviously not. “You’ll just slow me down anyway,” she says bitterly. Oh snaaaaap. As Michonne proceeds out, I’m surprised that Andrea actually takes two steps forward as if to follow. Unfortunately, Merle shuts the door, and that is the end of the great Woodbury Buddy Saga of Walking Dead 2012.

With Michonne leaving like this, I’m fairly certain that she will end up finding Rick’s prison family and telling them about Woodbury. And Andrea. And then they’ll go there to rescue her or something because they won’t lose one of their own again. And then I’ll get my Phil vs Rick scenes complete with clashing machetes and capoeira style dancing. But this is my speculation, I could be totally off the mark on this one.

The Governor sits next to sad Andrea on a random bench. He gives her another CREEPUS MAXIMUS once over when she’s not looking, and offers her a drink to drown her sorrows. Let’s go chacha the merigue while we salsa, he practically says. No, okay, I exaggerated, but Governor definitely wants Michonne out of Andrea’s mind. Only a clean cut will do.

Ohay thar, lady bits.

The Bike of Hell Noises arrives and Oscar, with Axel, act as the distractions so they can open the gate. I’m glad to see that they’re already letting the prisoners pull their weight.

Baby is bawling, so Dixon takes her off Carl’s hands and feeds her formula. Oh look it’s Daryl the baby whisperer. Are they trying to make women fall madly in love with him? Hershel approves.

Daryl asks Carl about Baby’s name, which is really hard to think about. Carl goes down a list of all the women who ever died on his journey from home to the prison. Everyone’s face is downcast as they listen. Jacqui, Andrea, or Lori, I don’t know. Whatever, I’m a thirteen year old kid, I don’t name babies for a living.

For lack of functioning Grimes men, Daryl takes the reins again. Lil’ Asskicker, he names her. And everyone laughs in agreement. Yes, that is the sound of ovaries erupting simultaneously around the world. It sounds like me ripping open the perforated cardboard to some delicious Pocky sticks.

“Cos I totally don’t need any more women offering me to impregnate them already!”

Maybe after all the Apples and Moses and Suri’s of this generation we’ll start the revolutionary naming conventions of My Son Lee and Massive Fighter Jones or really nail their life’s destiny with them, like Badass Black Smith.

Fleeting happiness is fleeting. Rick has found the space where Lori died. Good Lord, what a switch of mood. Just when the smile was teasing the corner of my mouth. The body isn’t there, and he picks up the single round of Carl’s gun pitched against the concrete. Missed? Or through? Brain matter and other bits stain the floor, Carl’s knife is there too.

Some walker growling is done. The camera pans slightly to the pot-bellied body nearby. Lori’s a walker? You mean, Carl missed?! But where is all her hair? That went ugly really fast. However upon closer examination, it’s not Lori. Which implies that it ate Lori whole or something, especially when Rick blasts its brains out and stabs it in the stomach repeatedly. There are no remains either. I didn’t think that a walker could eat someone so fast, bones included, but apparently this one did. What a terrible way to find – or not to find – your deceased wife’s corpse.

“Angst! Angst! I angst on you, zombie! ANGST!”

The town’s party is in full swing. People gather around in an arena-like stage, where rock music blares and the crowds are hyped. Spotlights shine. The show starts. It’s Woodbury Thunderrrrdomeeeee.

I first think they do the dance of death with this circle of zombies. As Merle and another one of the Governor’s henchmen start brawling, I realize that I assumed wrongly. In fact, they’re fighting each other instead of fighting against the walkers. And it’s the first time this season that I felt really turned off with what was onscreen. A little too much screen time was dedicated to the fight, which was boring in itself. Or maybe my reaction means that the writers are hugely successful. Play with my feelings, won’t you.

Andrea rightfully expresses her disgust with the town practice, labeling it as something “barbaric” and totally hating on this undead gladiator fiasco. It’s staged, the Governor says, like it’s some kind of important secret. Oh it’s all fake and scripted and premeditated, this Woodbury Wrestling Federation.

Michonne’s making a lot more sense now huh? Watcha gonna do now?

Most idiotic sport.

Back at the prison, we see 100% made-of-man Daryl at the grave site, where he lays a Cherokee Rose on what is presumably Carol’s plot. He’s sentimental too? Way to go, writers.

The scene quickly returns to a sullen Rick, ignoring Lil’ Asskicker’s cries echoing through the hollow prison hallways. He’s not gonna get over this, is he? In a random bit of development, a phone rings. A rotary dial phone! Some prison this is. Rick picks up the phone, greets “Hello?” and the episode ends in the most abrupt and awkward way possible. I know what it’s like, you carry on building this great arc and then when it’s time to finish it you’re like, bah, whatever, let’s just have Rick answer a call and leave it at that.

So in the same fashion I am leaving this at that.

“Watchuwant?”

Talky talk

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