Wow, I was so excited that I forgot my super snarky summary here. Speechless. In this ep, almost everyone is annoying, the Dixons steal the show, and I stretch my vocab thinking of insulting names to call the Governor, who as usual, is one big asshat. Bear with me here.
All is quiet at the prison and Rick is surveying the perimeter from one of the outpost walkways. In the distance, he sees Michonne grab her katana, then further scans the length of the fields, until he sees the white figure of Lori at the gravesite, as if in prayer for souls of their lost ones still adrift.
Intrigued, he heads to the very place where she stands, hoping to speak to her, but in a blink she’s gone. Another look around and now she’s just outside of the chain link fence, where she disappears behind the watchtower. Rick gives chase. I try not to laugh at Michonne closing the gate he leaves wide open wondering, “Dafuuuuuuq?”
Rick meets Lori face-to-face on a tiny bridge and they share a tender moment. At this point I expect the vision of peace to suddenly erupt into a zombie eating Rick’s face, but surprisingly it doesn’t. From Michonne’s point of view, he’s practically making out with air, but Andrew Lincoln is such a dashing man that nobody really minds.
Post credits, guards are still on high alert atop the Woodbury walls. The Governor visits Andrea to talk about how impressed he is with her fancy rally speech. She couldn’t care less about his compliments, and only wants to know if he’s going to kill the Prison People. He’s not. Or at least that’s what he says.
Well, then, she wants to pay them a visit. In an attempt to get her to grow some roots, he admits what a terrible leader he’s been to Woodbury, and that mayhaps Andrea could fill the shoes in nicely instead while he gets his shit together. Sure, she could visit the Prison. But the fact of the matter is that (according to the Gov) the town needs someone like Andrea running the place. Someone inspirational. Someone blonde. Someone with wider peripheral vision.
Can you imagine?! The next thing you know, Hershel gets a prosthetic sponsorship for the Greene Run Marathon and Merle’s starting an advocacy for women’s rights.
Speaking of, the Dixon brothers have found themselves hunting in a forest, where Merle takes a really long pee. Daryl wonders if raiding the house they passed would’ve been better than to wait around for some rodent to scuttle by.
Merle suspects that his little bro is trying to push him back to the path that leads to the prison, and there’s no denying how hopelessly transparent Daryl is when he’s with him. I really love the way Reedus and Rooker play off each other. Daryl’s demeanor seems almost gentle when he talks about the pros of going back to the cells. Like he genuinely misses the place. I’m sure he does. That’s where his crew is. That’s where Carol is. But Merle isn’t that thick, he knows what they think of him. And he’s a realist. He’s certain that the Governor’s going to mow down those walls with gunfire and tear their group to shreds.
“Let’s hook some fish,” Merle says, with a surprising lack of venom and obnoxiousness.
Glenn consults Carl to try and pinpoint where the weakness in their perimeter is in preparation for Woodbury’s retaliation. Beth doubts that they’ll seek them out, but Michonne – for the first time! – tells the group that the Governor is batshit nuts with his head!tanks stowed away in his secret room. Guy like that is bound to be a vengeful twat.
Still not fully recovered from bitterness, Glenn suggests that they ninja their operation and blow the Gov’s brains out now, when they least expect it. “We’re not assassins,” Carol deadpans, but he’s stubborn. Michonne is the only one here who knows exactly where the Gov lives, and Glenn looks to her for support. She hesitates, but eventually agrees to tag along.
Hershel reminds him of what happened to them the last time they pulled a stunt like that. Maggie watches in horror as her boyfriend bull-headedly goes against her father, even after his recital of the numerous people who have perished – they don’t need anymore bodies. If the Gov’s on his way, then they’d better be on their way too. I hope to God that I keep the company of someone so level-headed if the apocalypse ever hit.
Glenn is so reckless. I’m getting really annoyed, but I know exactly that I shouldn’t be, because he’s overcompensating, not being able to face the fact that he hadn’t been able to protect the one thing in his life he pinned his whole purpose to. He was totally helpless, and now he’s trying to make up for it by being gungho. I’m afraid that this will cost him his life. Or maybe Maggie’s life. Or worse, Hershel’s life. Then he can join Rick in his sad spiral. Nooo! I hate his destructive behaviour. If anything, I think that maybe the major esteem insecurities he has are preexisting conditions, now amplified because of what happened in Woodbury. And I wish that he could get over them. Right now all I can think about is slapping him in the face and telling him to get over himself.
I’ve always liked Glenn as a character, but he’s driving me totally crazy at the moment.
He decides to meet Hershel halfway by staying behind and standing their ground instead of chasing down the Governor. That’ll do, the look on the old man’s face says. Resuming their plans to patch up any holes in their security, Glenn asks Michonne to be the guardianof the cells. Then he realises that there’s no one looking out for them at the moment, and goes to check it out.
Milton is chilling out when the Gov randomly tosses his walkie in front of him just for kicks. The Doc frantically goes to change its batteries, while his leader questions him about whether he’s going to stay and continue contributing. I guess after everything that’s happened, Phil is just checking on his people to see if they still believe in him. Milton isn’t convincing at all. He’s like a slippery weasel looking to slink his way out of there. Could be the reason why the Gov’s playing the friendship card, but it’s kinda counterproductive to coerce people into loyalty, right? Guess that doesn’t matter, because Milton is still his puppy for now.
The Gov isn’t so sure about Andrea though, and makes the Doc his secret spy… which doesn’t seem like such a great idea. It could just be the Val Kilmer face in Harry Potter glasses giving me vibes.
On the streets of Woodbury, Andrea wants to speak to Martinez but Karen the guardswoman gives her the brush-off. She spots Milton in the distance and asks about the Governor’s whereabouts; Milton looks uneasy and somewhat shaken, in addition to being a shitty liar. “Imma punch you in the face if you don’t tell me!” Andrea practically says, but his response remains the same.
I doubt the Governor is in the mood for a leisurely jog about the estate either, girl.
At the prison, Glenn and Carl report that the previously cleared section of where the boiler room is overrun by walkers. The gnashing beasties are finally advancing, and their threat begins to grow heavier than those trying to lord over all the prison. Are we to expect another toothy farewell to some characters again? It’s only a matter of time before something breaks down and lets them in, Beth points out.
Glenn proposes to check out the far side of the prison to see if the group has a better chance of holding up there. Axel volunteers, to drive, but Glenn wants to take Maggie – I get a weird knot in my gut. This is not going to go well. I can sense it. Urghh. You love that girl, man. Why do you want to put her in danger? And Hershel. Look at Hershel. He knows this too. He’s probably next to a heart attack under that luxurious beard of wisdom.
Maggie is sulking in her bed. She has the right to. Glenn wants her to talk about her trauma in Woodbury, which I find horrible because I’ve been a victim before and I know too well that forcing someone to talk about their feelings when they just want to get over it is awful. They say that therapy helps, that talking about it will make you feel better. But some of us just want to sink the topic, bury it, never speak of it again and move the hell on. Some of us get over these things on our own terms and can be perfectly capable of recovering without even once allowing ourselves to feel like an irreparable victim.
I get why Glenn is so mad. I know that he just wants to frakkin’ bash the Gov’s head in for subjecting the love of his life to terrible humiliation. But I really hate that he backs off after he finds out that she wasn’t raped. I hate that Maggie has to spell out to him what she sacrificed to save him from getting hurt just so that his manhood doesn’t feel so bruised for being helpless when he was (and yes, I view this is an ego thing). But the truth is that they’re both experiencing an insane amount of trauma, and there isn’t a right way to deal with it.
From here I’d like to really commend the writers for putting a blender to my chest. The above is how I related to it anyway. Lots of crazy viewer emotions in this scene. Lauren Cohan is amazing once again.
No way is she going to accompany him after that chat. She tells Glenn to go away, so he does.
Breaking some tension is Carol showing Axel what to do in case of an attack. They’re fortifying the fences with wooden pallets and tabletops from the cafeteria, when Axel shares that he once robbed a gas station with a toy gun without ever having to take it out. Carol remembers he confessed about being jailed for pharmaceuticals, but we find out that it was just to paint a good first impression. Turns out that his story is a little more pathetic than that – the police didn’t believe that the gas station peeps were so dumb that even after finding the toy gun on him, they convicted him by finding his brother’s gun. He doesn’t even know how to use a real firearm.
Carol decides to tutor him on how to check and load the magazine. Which is perfect. She’s passing on Daryl’s sharpshooting legacy. “You’re quite a lady,” says a rather impressed Axel, and Carol turns away only to give the most delighted, girlish smile I’ve ever seen. She’s so cute. Best rehabbed character EVER.
Back to the Dixons trekking the forest. They bicker about their location and Merle wants to bet that Daryl’s sense of direction sucks, but they’re interrupted by the distant wailing of a baby. They reach the river and witness a family slowly getting overwhelmed by zombies, where a man is atop the roof of a car firing attention-drawing shots as his wife and kid are freaking out. Daryl launches into heroics while Merle remains adamant about staying away because that’s just his policy – stay out of danger, don’t get bit. Charity ain’t worth it, especially for people you don’t even know. Again, totally enjoying this exploration of the Dixon brothers’ characters and their relationship. Their dynamic is unprecedented.
One man is actually two guys fending off walkers. The wife and her baby are in the car as a zombie crawls in from the back. Another zombie nearly gets the fellow who drops his very valuable revolver, but lo! ‘Tis Daryl’s wife that saves the day with her bolts!
Way to ramp up the dude’s cool factor into overdrive, guys. Daryl keeps on kicking zombie ass, asking the person he’s helping out to cover him as he takes down the rest of the horde. Gratuitous walker violence ensues as young Dixon bashes in the brains of a harassing walker, and decapitates another with the slamming power of a car boot. You hear that? It’s the song of millions of ovaries exploding. Grown men are on their knees screaming. Children are weeping with joy.
Merle kills a single zombie for pure enjoyment only, then stands aside to watch his bro save the hispanic guy’s life with some admirable melee action. As soon as the commotion dies down, Merle begins to loot the car for their supplies, much to the dismay of the people they just saved.
Daryl’s too good of a guy to ignore the pleading in their eyes. He points his crossbow at his older brother to get him to stop and tells the rest to get the hell out immediately. I love the brothers staring each other down through the scope of the weapon. Daryl’s really trying to get Merle to be a little more humanitarian, and Merle’s trying to get Daryl to be more survivalist. The only thing is that Daryl’s got the bow. It’s hard to argue with that pointing at you.
They leave Yellow Jacket Creek and continue on their hike. Of course Merle’s mad about what happened. Daryl snaps back at him for never being there even when he looked for him. Merle chides him for being buddy-buddy with Rick when in actual fact, Daryl’s initial intention was to rob the camp of their supplies. It didn’t happen. I suppose Merle’s just trying to insinuate that his brother’s weak for ending up with the people he was supposed to rip off.
Daryl cusses him out and gets pushed around until Merle rips the old shirt off his back – it softens him immediately. Godddd, their acting is so ace here. That forlorn gaze over the scars on his brother’s back as he realises that Daryl went through the same abuse that he did when they were kids. Daryl all crushed and withholding his bitterness towards Merle for repeatedly abandoning him. He gets up and makes his decision – he’s going back to camp, even if Merle knows he can’t go back, not after what he did to Michonne or Glenn.
“You know, I may be the one walking away; you’re the one who’s leavin’. Again.” He doesn’t even look back.
Merle fidgets about, visibly troubled, and then he moves in the direction where Daryl headed.
Lord, still the tears from my eyes, that was an incredible scene. What I love most about this is that the emotional thunderstorm of the Dixons and their history was still so much more exciting than their zombie attack sequence. That’s brotherly love for you. It PREVAILS!
Glenn is about to go on his suicide mission when Hershel stops him. We’re dealing with more of Glenn’s manhood (or lack thereof) issues, and his dad-in-law tries to talk him out of going, insisting that he couldn’t have done anything. Glenn proclaims that he’s the next in-charge after Rick’s “wandering crazy town” and Daryl’s absence. “What are you proving?” Hershel asks, but he has no answer. He simply drives off to complete his self-appointed objectives.
Hershel catches sight of Rick aimlessly walking around. He’s still at it? The whole episode? Isn’t anyone even worried that a zombie might suddenly eat their leader?
Beth is still carrying around the baby, but this time she hands Judith over to Maggie so that she can fix some chow for Hershel. Maggie tries her hand at feeding baby Judith, and she’s immediately moved. I definitely don’t think that she wants a baby of her own but I’d think that it reminds her that it’s not all bad on this earth. Maybe it’s not worth it to hold grudges and be grumpy with loved ones.
Rick hears someone repeatedly calling his name as he makes his way across the tiny bridge for the nth time. It’s Hershel, begging Rick to come back and lead to help stop Glenn from torpedoing to his death. The sheriff is pretty “meh” about his responsibilities, only wanting to focus on his hallucinations, so Hershel asks him how much time he needs to walk off his shroom-like trance. Probably never, his eyes say.
Hershel is about to put him in the Lost Cause box, but Rick confesses. “I saw something,” he says. All the dead people. He rationalizes that they must mean something, and Hershel figures out that it happened to him with the phone too. He’s not seeing Shane or Lori at the moment, but he’s waiting.
“For what?” Hershel asks. Rick doesn’t know. Maybe he does. Maybe it only makes sense to him. He looks absolutely batty when he’s trying to justify his cause for an excursion, and chooses to ignore Hershel’s request for him to come back home.
Carol and Axel watch from a distance and discuss Rick’s current state of mind. They bond over his old prison stories, enjoy a laugh. Then just when he’s about to get started on something else, BOOM.
HOLY CRAP EVERYONE!
Axel takes one straight to the noggin. Damn it, show. Now I’m going to feel uncomfortable about any lesser character who suddenly gets more than 15 seconds of dialogue. It’s your red shirt indicator. I know your tricks now; it still ain’t cute.
We find out that his executioner is none other than our psycho killer Governor. Now he, he has that Mayor of Crazy Town look in his eye. That’s like Britney-shaving, Dexter Morgan, Inglorious Basterds type of crazy going on there.
I also find it incredible how gunfire flips a switch in Rick’s head. It’s turned him from skulking mental patient into nimble mercenary. Everyone takes a dive into the grass or cover when a rain of bullets pepper the ground before them. I’m really horrified that Carol is forced to use Axel’s corpse as a human shield and has no other way of getting out of there. A gunman is in one of the watchtowers – Carl tries to shoot him to no avail, and he keeps firing at Carol.
Michonne takes a shot at the Governor, but nothing connects – it seems like everyone’s kind of hit with the Storm Trooper Effect. And all that ammo. Pretty smart of Phil, I must say. He might be on a rampage but he’s basically draining their bullet caches dry with his arrogant bastard attack. He just stands there, out in the open, not even behind the car door. A man with nothing to lose is pretty dangerous, but come on, he ain’t invincible. Guess that means that Michonne is a pretty crap shooter.
When silence falls, the Gov recklessly fires off his AUG just because he can. I bet he want to draw out the zombies too, but it’s probably secondary to him just wanting to be a bag of dicks and show off that he’s untouchable. Meanwhile, Maggie rushes out with two more rifles to pass to Beth and ducks behind a few random file cabinets so that Carol can make a run for it and grab a gun for herself too. Phew!
The mad firing continues when suddenly a van speeds into the prison and mows down the gates; the Governor looks pleased. It parks right smack in the centre of the field just outside of the prison compound, and in the most dramatic fashion, its ramp plonks down and tens of zombies start hobbling out of it. Pretty near Hershel too. Uh-oh.
The driver leaps out of the car and starts shooting. Rick has her in his scope and takes a shot, but all he hears is that terrible click of an empty magazine. Martinez takes the opportunity to fire at him, but Rick: Special Ops Edition evades them, shouting at Hershel to get out of there.
Okay, from here on out, it’s just all a bunch of chaos but here is my attempt to sort it out with my reactions in point form:
1) Zombie approaches Governor from behind very quietly but he gets a tingle or something, turns around to shoot it in the face and resumes spectating. He is extremely satisfied, and pulls a Scarface, spraying his AUG bullets all over the place with all the world’s smugness on his face. Then he leaves, just like that. What a huge douche canoe.
2) Maggie, possessed by the power of “What the Frak do I do now”, successfully takes out watch tower guy with some precise shooting. Hell yes, woman.
3) Walkers start advancing on Rick who’s still on the outskirts. He shoots down a couple and finds his revolver empty too. There are like ten zombies coming closer. Life sucks, Grimes! Yes, running away as fast as you can is the best option. Martinez, realising Rick’s probably done for, slinks away as well.
Rick rounds a corner and almost bumps into a walker. It’s like watching prey trying to outmaneuver its attacker. No ammo, no way into the compound. You’re screwed, sheriff! Lori screwed you over! Again! From the grave! In your mind!
4) Hershel, literally in the weeds, is fending off his own problems with a tiny Glock pistol.
5) As the Gov’s pick up drives off in a hurry, Glenn’s car is just coming back. “What the whaaaaat?” is all over his face as he floors the accelerator.
6) Michonne puts her other half (Mr Katana) to good use and makes zombie sashimi for a good mile’s run. Mm mm. That should be enough to seal her place on Team Atlanta.
7) Out of options, Rick begins stabbing zombies in the face with the barrel of his gun. I’m happy the writers/directors thought this through. I would be pretty pissed if Rick threw his weapons away just because they were empty, as Hollywood heroes are wont to do.
But oh shit again! The barrel isn’t enough. A walker catches him and pins him against the chain link fence and a second zombie wants to make this a fancy threesome thing and mush faces with Rick. Eeyugh. And also, OH MY GOD THIS IS TOO EXCITING IS RICK GONNA GET BIT
8) Glenn is still driving through zombieland.
9) Much screaming and yelling is had by Rick, it’s unbelievable how much he’s fighting not to get his fingers caught in zombie teeth. When you think he’s almost done for…
10) CROSSBOW BOLT, BITCHES
11) Triumphant music signal the Dixon brothers’ dramatic arrivals as they save Rick’s ass from getting bit. YESSSSS. Merle charges in with an iron rod (where the hell did he get that from?) and Daryl is being cool about everything. Way to go fellas.
12) Michonne and Glenn help Hershel into the pickup and I almost pee when the zombies swarm, in arms reach of Glenn as he hurries to the driver’s seat. They manage to reach the safe zone without so much as a scratch, and just before the medium-sized horde can start chewing at the padlocks.
Really heartwarming to see Maggie reunite with Hershel and hear the million tonnes of relief and gratefulness in his voice.
13) THE RICKRYL BROMANCE IS REKINDLED, THANK GOD. They fistpump with their eyes and probably eye!hug as well. Merle chuckles in fervent glee over killing zombies and Rick is like, “Goddamnit this asshole saved my life too,” in his head.
Looks like they’re stuck out there for the time being and have to find another way into the prison. Both groups look at each other, prison team more distraught. The episode ends abruptly with the camera zoomed in on Rick’s manic expression.
Well that was weird and unexpected.