“Hounded” – The Walking Dead Recap

Two worlds are about to collide, but Rick goes crazy first. Why not have a drink on the Governor while you wait? Oh that’s right, he’s a psycho, and busy doing it with Andrea. Ew.

Merle and the other cronies find neatly arranged zombie bits left behind by Michonne. At first, no one knows what it is, but one of the men points out her decorative message: Go Back. Geddit? Geddit?! “She sent us a bitergram, ya’ll!” Merle giggles, but the clever guy thinks it’s sick.

The frightened guy is Cartulio (sp?), but Merle’s just gonna settle with Neil. Merle calls out to Michonne, and she actually appears, dropping down from the sky, decapitates the asian dude, stabs the other while Merle shoots his back, shoots at her, she catches a bullet in the thigh, but still manages to run away. Merle really wants to find her.

My fist can’t fit in my mouth but damn, Michonne, you are the baddest, you marvelous woman, you. The credits are not nearly long enough for the teeth marks to fade from my knuckles.

Hurr hurr, good one.

Rick is on the phone with a woman, and still reeling from the thought of Lori being an undigested clump in some walker’s stomach. She claims to have been calling since the beginning of the apocalypse but no one’s picking up… Heh? Wouldn’t any normal people just give up and move on?

No matter. She won’t give up her location, and he asks about what makes the place safer than anywhere else. “It’s just… away from them,” she explains poorly. What, you mean away like Siberia? Somewhere by the edge of the Bermuda Triangle where Oceanic Flight 815 touched down?

Rick decides to use his children and group as bartering chips for the Phone Lady to consider. He’s desperate, the way he begs her. That’s when you know that he wants to throw away the leader boots and just surrender the title to someone else who can actually take care of everyone else. Sad, knowing what’s going through his mind.

She hangs up on him.

A desperate man might do desperate things.

Everyone is having their meal when Rick decides to check on them for some reason.  How quickly does he put on that mask? Obviously everyone is apprehensive about his mental/emotional state, seeing how he just lost his wife, but he just keeps on keepin’ on. He asks Daryl if everyone has a gun and a knife, which Daryl affirms, but they’re running low on ammo. Glenn volunteers himself and Maggie to go to another place nearby where they could get ammo and baby formula; wow, that store must wacky.

Daryl informs that Axel’s fixing up the generator and that they’ll clear out the place later. Okay, everything seems to be in order, so Rick decides he can spend more time by himself angsting. Go on, buddy. You deserve that time.

Crouched over the bodies of his comrades, Neil sobs, terrified. Merle’s super enthusiastic about putting a round in Michonne, but he advises Neil to get on up and get the hell out before the walkers come pouring in seeking the source of the gunshots.

Merle kicks Neil down and I chuckle a little because it’s so comically evil, the way he does it. Merle tries his hand at encouraging him by saying he doesn’t want him to die. Then he says that they never let their people turn into walkers like it’s some sacred rule thing, but really, it’s just the smart thing to do. He walks on over to the Asian dude’s corpse and pokes him in the eye with his bayonet arm – this is kinda funny, because Merle’s just trying to make the other guy feel comfortable with violence, and it looks unnatural.

Neil takes his cue and stabs the loose head with his own knife. Our second fave redneck praises him like he does a dog that just rolled over; this is just bizarre. They move on to seek Michonne out.

A lesson in headstabbing: Step one, stab. That is all.

In parallel, The Governor’s trying to reduce the dissonance Andrea’s feeling about not going out there with Michonne. She’s not really thinking about that, pssh, should’ve known that she’d make a bigger deal about the gladiator-style Thunderdome popularized in Woodbury than separating from the woman who saved her ass countless times with two walkers and a sword.

Somehow she’s still managed to rationalize that their spectator sport is a morally permissible thing on her compass. She wants to ask him a question, but he denies her. Instead he wants to understands how she “gets it”.

Turns out that Andrea has yet to feel that she’s a part of the Woodbury culture, to which the Gov tries to change her perception about being accepted. He is an excellent salesman. Even as she gives her reason for hating the sport (“the world is brutal enough already”), he acts like he gives a crap about her feelings. All Andrea really wants now is to be able to contribute to the Woodbury cause of keeping people safe by being one of the guards on the wall. I suppose she cherishes her sense of empowerment the most. It’s probably why she’s being reckless and rash with her decision-making – leaving Michonne, trying to attach herself to something on her own terms. It makes sense why she would feel this way, but it doesn’t make it any less foolish.

He’s most definitely not going to give her a gun during wall duty, but a bow and arrow will do for now. Off to work, slave! Heeyah!

No creepy staring here.

We’re back to Rick and the Phone of Mysterious Calls. He’s nervously waiting around for the call, and when it does ring, he springs to receive it. This time it’s a guy speaking, the background very warbly and creepy-sounding. It’s another round of Q&A between he and Rick, and while he sells Rick on the idea of their location, he doesn’t seem keen to have the group just walk into their gates of safety.

Thus begins a series of very awful questions: Have you killed anyone? If so, how many people have you killed? Four, Rick recounts, and it’s somewhat painful to see him be forced to think about each time… especially when it comes to Shane. You can just see that he’s still trying to convince himself somewhat that all the murders were the right thing to do at their respective points in time, an ugly bit of himself that he doesn’t like revisiting.

The voice on the phone asks about his wife, knowing he has one because he mentioned Carl and a baby. Because both of them must have come out from someone’s vajay some time, right? The wound is too raw for Rick to be able to discuss Lori’s death so soon, and as a result, he is hung up on a second time. Damn it!

Rick throws a fit about it, and it’s upsetting because it’s like these jerks seem like they’re doing it on purpose. But every time they cut the line, it seems like the notion of being saved by someone else is slipping away very slowly for the group. Sorry it had to happen, Rick.

“What’s your favourite scary movie?”

Andrea bonds with a young girl who lost her father and brother to the infection. In fact, she was the one to put them down. Andrea relates, mentioning Amy very briefly. More female bonding is to be had. This is a great scene because there’s very little of this going on between female characters of the show. I mean, there are moments, but they are short and superficial, never reaching the levels of say, Hershel and Glenn talking about Maggie, or how life has made them tougher. When the girl describes her old life, I feel that this is the kind of conversation that I want the rest of the ladies to be having with each other, just talking about life in general, and not always standing about with tasks at hand. I mean, it took a grim delivery for Maggie and Lori to talk about something meaningful, and it was basically instructions on how to proceed after the latter expired. Hope this improves. It’s not really a feminist thing, I’m just noticing that in the prison group, the girls are still sort of wallflowers.

A walker wanders into range and the chick goes, “Watch me.” She takes aim and releases her bow three times, every single shot missing – what a suck shooter. Andrea, unable to withstand such mediocre dispatching jumps from the wall and proceeds to stab it in the face. Definitely nurtured right by Michonne.

As much as I love it when zombies are killed, Andrea’s smug face takes the joy right out of a kill. Looks like she’s enjoying her mini-power trip. All fueled up on pride, the girl tells her, “This isn’t a game.” Then Andrea realises that maybe she’s not so different for enjoying her kill as much as those people where enjoying Woodbury Backyard Wrestling after all.

Aww yea, son

Hershel finds Rick pacing about in the room, hobbling down the steps with his crutch like a true champ. Rick offers him a seat reluctantly; instead diving right into it, Hershel talks about the phantom tingles he still feels of his right leg, bitterly laughing at the outcome. Rick apologizes, but Hershel knows this damn well saved him from becoming a zombie. And what does this segue into? Lori. That redemption arc seems to be going strong as they keep pounding into our heads that she wasn’t so terrible in the end. Okay, we get it.

But Hershel’s point is that Rick is doing enough, and everything that’s needed for the group to survive. Giving credit where credit’s due. He tries to tell Rick to suck it up in a nice way, but Rick instead makes reference to his new telephone buddies. Hershel picks up to listen, while Rick explains that they never pick up when he dials… but all Hershel hears is the static.

Rick asks him not to reveal anything to the group yet, until he’s sure that the other people on the line is legit. The old man offers to accompany him in waiting around, but Rick refuses – this is something that he needs to do alone.

“I’ll sit here with you.”

Traipsing through the forest, Merle and new BFF Neil pause at a secluded area of the forest. I don’t think they even know where they are. A moment of surveying allows Michonne to pop out and ambush them. Neil takes a nasty nick to the torso as Merle lunges at her. KNIFE FIGHT! The redneck gains the upper hand with a well-directed swish of the arm and Michonne is on her back. But wait! Our resident ninja is never that easy to dispose of. She kicks him in the balls then the face and he goes down, and everyone rolls about making injured noises.

What better time to throw in a handful of walkers than now! Zombies suddenly emerge and decide that this is the right time to make incoherent conversation. “Eeyugh, hyeugh!” The one approaching Merle says.

We have a walker approaching Michonne, who’s still on the floor. “YES!” I cheer at her reaching for the katana, and then she slices through its belly, to which I move to a, “NO!” Its gross intestines spill out all over her, and I’m glad to see that she’s a normal human being that still grimaces when zombie guts nearly get in your mouth. Ugh.

Neil saves Merle, Merle stabs another walker, and Michonne is gone. See? That’s the right thing to do. Be gone.

Some brushing of teeth is to be had later

Oscar, Daryl and Carl are clearing out another portion of the prison. How big is this place? From the outside it looks tiny, but it seems to be labyrinthian and never running out of cell blocks to sweep. Can someone draw me a map of this place?

Daryl, being the good guy he is, tries to make Carl feel better about losing Lori by talking about his drunkard mum and her bedtime smoking habit, how she died in a fire and how it was hard to deal with the fact that she was just gone. Vaporized. The best thing about this isn’t Daryl’s story, but Carl’s response to it. He was composed, took responsibility for his actions (that still haunt him, of course) and always making sure that he never discounted the fact that it happened. I think it’s a memory that he’d rather keep in his heart and torture himself with to remind him of the necessary things that must be done – do the right thing that his momma was talking about. His first tough choice. What a man this kid has turned into.

The kid is growing up, folks.

Andrea approaches the Gov to apologize for crossing the wall. She tries to wave it away by saying that she wanted to practice, but Phil takes her off wall duty forever. She accepts the fate, but admits to him that she reveled in the fights – a revelation that came to her when she put out that zombier earlier on. They are so delicious and sexy and wrong-but-so-right and they POWER MY LIBIDO, Mr Governor sir!

The Governor sees how easy it is to further draw Andrea into his clutches by bringing up her obvious attraction to him. One minute we’re talking about zombie Thunderdome and now we’re on having crushes on each other. That convo sure went south.

“You like me Andrea.”

“Do I like you like I would a urinary tract infection? Why yessir, I do!”

Merle praises his little buddy for putting down some walkers, offering him a beer when they get back. Neil wants to go track down Michonne and avenge his fallen friends, but I have a feeling that this guy’s bloodlust has just been awakened and he just wants to go hunting for deadheads to crack.

Refusing, Merle ignores his belligerence and tells him to leave the situation alone because they’ve crossed into the red zone where it’s crawling with walkers. No one survives in the red zone for long, he says, forgetting that Michonne ain’t just anyone.

Both plot their lie to the Governor about what really happened – following in his footsteps, aren’t ya? But Neil won’t let the issue go despite Merle repeatedly advises him to take any further action regarding Michonne. In fact, he tells Merle to the face that he isn’t going to lie to the Governor. Hello? You’re alone in the forest with Merle. And you just decided to be a defiant son of a bitch now?

Okay, Merle basically says, you’re becoming a big boy now huh. He asks for his name again (what is it, Carchulio? Karjulio? Ga-whatever), his real name and I shove my fingers into my ears as far as they go because I’m certain that this new guy will die. And he does. BLAM. Merle repeats his complex last name again, remembering, but I doubt that it’ll stay in his memory for long. That’s just Merle for you.

Michonne fetches her stash from the foot of a tree, hobbling. The bullet that found its way into her leg earlier is starting to affect her. The familiar growl of zombies alarm her – is that actually fear I see? – and her sword is already halfway unsheathed. Then she pulls her “DA HELL?!” face as they stagger on by. Yup, remember when Glenn and Rick smeared zombie goo all over themselves and traveled through the city? I’m glad that they’re revisiting that little part of the mythos. A bell of Eureka! goes off in her head as the discovery sinks in. Mmm, zombie biology.

“Da hale?!”

Another different person calls Rick, chiding him for not telling the previous callers about Lori. He really doesn’t want to talk about it, but the voice on the other end encourages him to do so. What is this, dial-a-mourner?

He’s about to reply when he realises that he’s being addressed by his name – which he told nobody. Spiez, u gaise. The static worsens and becomes underwater blurble before Rick slams the receiver down. Well that was helpful.

Looks like Michonne’s found her way out of the forest. As she peers around the corner of a brick building, we see the many abandoned cars littering the lots, to which Michonne quickly hides behind one of them when a car pulls up in front of what looks like a discount store.

The car door opens and… It’s Glenn and Maggie! Being smoochy and loving and touchy as can be but Glenn and Maggie nonetheless. Implying that the prison may not be as far from Woodbury as we thought. And just like that I feel happy that I called it. HEHE.

Glenn breaks out the boltcutters and opens the doors to the store. Maggie asks him to get a duck – kids need toys, y’know? I can’t see Michonne’s expression as she spies on them, but I’ll bet it’s a upturned mouth.

More whiskey between Andrea and the Governor. He recalls his old life of having a stupid dog, and she notices that he seemed to “not have something he was proud of”. He denies it squarely, but doesn’t go further. Instead he asks, “So how long has it been?”

Andrea’s like “wuh? U srs now Gov?” He quickly rephrases, and his uneasy laugh is uncharacteristically goofy. “Derrp, I was talking about the whiskey, ma’am!”

More talking about appreciating where they are, ooh, I have the Gov’nah’s attention now, you can liking fighting lady, go ahead and be Sheba. They way they talk? You know where they’re headed. Their voices get rough and silky and husky and all the ego stroking is a beta version of 50 Shades of Zombies. And despite that, I still wince as they proceed to make out dutifully as a rite of passage. That’s what Woodbury does, right?

NOOOO, I holler, noticing that she goes straight for the belt loops. NOOO! Gross. Here, have some sanitizer with me. There is nothing romantic about this at all.

Omnomnom.

Back to the Glenn and Maggie scene, thank god. It seems like they’ve salvaged plenty of useful things to bring home. And then Merle appears!

OMG! Merle is there too! I expected Michonne to be headed to the prison but not at the same time as Merle. This is great. Glenn’s lack of surprise at seeing Merle is great too. All Merle wants is to know how Daryl is doing, cos baby bro always the first thing on his mind. “No hard feelings if you bring me to him,” he assures. Maggie glances at his knife arm and he tells the little story of him finding it at a medical supply warehouse.

Glenn’s all, Daryl will see you, you’re not going anywhere, we call the shots. But Merle pulls a second psych again by drawing his pistol on them; sneaky as always! Maybe that’s why Dixons are such great hunter navigators. They’re probably running from each other all the time. The bullet kills the windshield behind them, and somehow Maggie’s magically locked in Merle’s Captain Hook Chokehold. He demands that they go for a ride somewhere (probably back to Woodbury to get questioned), but Glenn thinks that he wants to go to where Daryl is. Of course they can’t bring him back to camp, there’s a baby around. And that baby will surely kick his ass.

Coerced into the car, they drive off to a mystery location, leaving slimy and bloody Michonne alone. And oh, damn. The shot of the baby formula. What will Lil’ Asskicker do now?

Still sweeping the prison, Oscar finds some pretty tartan shoes for himself. A zombie interrupts their Shoe Appreciation session but everyone’s so on the ball that they dispatch it at once. It’s refreshing to see that Daryl’s a normal guy who lets himself freak out after the danger’s over and there’s space to breathe. He bends to inspect the corpse, only to realise that Carol’s knife is lodged in the bloated throat of the attacker. Carol’s Knife y’all! Not to be confused with Daryl’s Crossbow, Michonne’s Katana, Carl’s Hat and Rick’s Rotary Dial Phone!

Don’t be hatin’ on my GQ style.

Which, by the way, is ringing. Rick fields another phone call by first asking the People on the Other Side how they knew his name. You know them, the woman says, going through a list of names that may sound familiar to you as a viewer – which means this is Lori.

Is Rick going nuts? Because if this is just another reason to redeem that character again I swear I will fly down to the set of The Walking Dead and break that freaking phone to pieces. And shred all the scripts to do with it. And maybe linger in the lot where Andrew Lincoln’s trailer is.

I do love that if you turn the volume up loud enough you can actually hear mild walker growling, but it’s really faint. While he continues to go through his phone call like an emotionally charged therapy session, I can’t help but feel a bit cheated that it’s all along just been a device to help him get over his funk quickly. I mean, it’s okay to let a character be hysterical for a little while, dip a toe into oblivion. No one just ups and gets over a loss like that in less than a few hours. But yeah, that’s where the conversation is headed.

The phone call gets increasingly eerie as Lori keeps asking if he can be a man and take care of the kids that he has left. He better, or else that baby’s gonna be calling Daryl papa.

Cut to the Gov makin’ love to Andrea. I wince again. This here is terrible, but I guess we couldn’t avoid it anyway. Merle makes it stop by knocking on the door so that he can report to Governor Phil what happened with Michonne and the rest of the crew. It’s all her fault boss! He concludes that he killed her, and when the Governor wants the proof in the form of her head (to put in the tank, /shudder) and katana, Merle makes the sloppy excuse that the walkers got in the way.

Sure enough, he brings up Glenn and Maggie. The Gov asks if they know Andrea – Merle confirms it and correctly assumes that they’re part of a solid setup somewhere nearby. Somewhere reachable. He’ll find out where.

After Merle leaves, the Gov goes back to his lover. I laugh when Andrea asks if everything’s okay and his reply is an enthusiastic Hell Yeah. Okay, we get it. You are so super horny and want to get the most out of it until someone’s head ends up in the tank.

“Where’s the head?”

At the prison, Beth’s churning up some food. Aw. It’s sweetness seeing Hershel cradling Lil’ baby Asskicker too. Now that Rick’s gathered his marbles, he picks her up and holds her like a real daddy should. Some marvelous music by Bear McCreary here. Rick finally appreciating the beauty of his newborn child is unrealistic (because it’s like a switch flipped) but still touching in its own way. And man, is that baby adorable. I don’t even like babies.

Holding Carol’s knife in his hand, Daryl angsts over it. A zombie trying to get out of the room opposite is annoying the shit out of him because the door keeps bumping into a dead body outside. Ass. He walks up to the door, drags the corpse away and pulls the door wide open to stab… But instead find a very haggard and tired-looking Carol sitting by the doorframe. He isn’t instantly elated, probably just relieved or thinking, “I knew you weren’t dead,” and like the hero he is, carries her out of the area to safety. I’m not a shipper, but that little nudge of her chin he gives her is a nice touch. Nice one, Reedus.

Let’s change the name of the show to Men With Babies. Oh wait…

Beth, Hershel, Carl and Rick holding the baby walks out into the compound, and the way the music swells makes the moment heartwarming, yet makes me wildly suspicious of the next scene. Happiness is fleeting, guys, it’s practically the mantra of this show.

Rick approaches the fences cautiously with gun in hand and among the clawing zombies, he notices a peculiar figure holding a red basket of store-looted goods. Because zombies don’t bring home groceries. It’s MICHONNE! Although looking slightly dead, she is very much alive, and she’s gonna be part of the prison gang.

OH YES SON.

“You MUST have a shower somewhere.”

Talky talk

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