Last night on The Walking Dead, we pick up right where we left off, with an argument that’s getting a little tiresome: should we stay or should we go? Rick says, “We’re not leaving.” Hershel says, “We can’t stay here.” We get it: the Prison offers Rick Grimes and his dwindling crew relative safety and shelter, but, they are sitting ducks for the Governor, who blew in last week and shot up the place (inexplicably killing only the minor character of Axel), before releasing a clown-van full of zombies into the yard (driven by a mystery-masked executioner who’ll surely be heard from again).
Glenn is with Rick. Merle says they shoulda slid out under the cover of darkness the night before. The Governor can outgun and outman them, or he could just starve them out.
Rick starts to wander off again, presumably headed back to CrazyTown, but Hershel is having none of it this week. “Get back here!” he barks. “You’re slipping Rick!… Get your head clear, and do something.”
Thus pep-talked, Rick stalks out to the fence where he purposefully surveys the landscape with binoculars. Carl joins him for a reverse pep talk, “You should stop…being the leader. Let Herschel and Daryl handle things.”
“You deserve ‘a rest,’” he adds euphemistically, just barely managing to avoid making air quotes.
Time for the cold open.
Back in Woodbury, it’s all about Andrea, the Walking Dead’s least likeable character of the original gang. The Governor is asking Milton for a head count of his potential forces. Well, if he factors in the arthritic and hard of hearing, they’re up to 26. Add in the “men and women” 13 and up, the Governor says. “You mean boys and girls?” Milton asks. A semantic debate follows about adolescence. Great! That makes 35!
Arm them, the Governor directs. Get ready for Martinez to start their training.
Andrea charges in, angry that the Governor has gone and shot up her prison friends. The Governor says they fired first. They’re “bloodthirsty.” She insists she can go broker a peace between Woodbury and the Prison. He tells her ominously, “you go to that prison, stay there.”
She stalks out, only to interrupt a townfolk debate between a random townie Mom and Martinez about the militia-readiness of her asthmatic son. Andrea intervenes. He’s supposed to be teaching everyone how to defend themselves, “not raising an Army.” “Wake up,” he says. “The only way to defend ourselves is with an Army.”
Meanwhile, the Prison crew is rallying, but their resources are dwindling. Glenn whines about the addition of Merle, “a snake in the nest.” Daryl shuts him down. “He’s with us now. Get used to it. All y’all.” Glenn wants to offer Merle up a sacrifice to the Governor — deliver a traitor and declare a truce. (He doesn’t explain why the Governor wouldn’t just say ‘Thanks,’ and then execute Merle, followed by the rest of them. Sometimes, it’s like Glenn isn’t even watching Talking Dead at all.)
Hershel is a fan of Merle’s military experience, and has a chat with him where they bond over how to best thank Rick for their individual amputations. Hershel’s grateful his saved his life. Merle, not so much.They exchange a few quotations from scripture. “Woodbury had a damn fine library,” Merle says. He is not looking forward to the Governor’s return.
“He’s gonna kill me first. Michonne. My brother. Then your girls. Glenn. Carl. The baby. Whoever else is left. He’ll save Rick for last. So he can watch his family and friends die ugly. That’s who you’re dealing with.”
Cut to: the Governor surveying his “troops,” a motley crew that, as we know, includes a bunch of arthritic asthmatics. The Governor surveys Mrs. McCloud’s gnarled hands, “thank you Dear,” he says, in his kindly-yet-sinister way, “we’ll find another way you can help us.” (Yes. He probably will. Soylent green is people.)
“Noah’s asthmatic,” Andrea challenges him as he comes upon an “adolescent” who’s only ever fired a BB gun.
“You’re gonna learn from the best,” the Governor says, daring Andrea to protest.
Andrea’s next brilliant idea is to confide in Milton. She’s going to the Prison and the Governor can’t know. He says it’s a “betrayal.”
Cut to, the Governor taking off his eye patch and holding up a match to his gooey eye socket. (Why? To test his vision?) Milton interrupts to tattle on Andrea. “Help her,” the Governor says. Is he testing Andrea? Letting her go gather intel? We don’t know yet. (In the post-show Talking Dead, 38 percent of fans voted “to get information on Rick” and 56 percent voted “to test her loyalty.)
Either way, she’s off. Dragging Milton along, she tackles a zombie in the forest and “Michonnes” him — chopping off his arms and curb stomping his teeth, American History X style. Now she has a pet like Michonne’s late great duo, or a “guardian angel” as she puts it.
Just as more zombies advance on them, Tyreese and his band turn up and he hammers one in the head in the nick of time. Introductions all around. Milton explains that the Pet is a “diversionary tactic” to “keep the Walkers away,” which seems like a continuity issue, since Woodbury people call them Biters and the Grimes team calls them Walkers.
Milton agrees to shepherd the new crew back to Woodbury, while she sets off for the prison, where Rick and the prison gang are not that glad to see their old friend.
“Hands up! Turn around! On the floor,” he barks as he escorts her to the prone position. “Welcome back,” he says tersely, once he realizes she’s alone. “Get up.”
Inside Cell Block C, she enjoys a hug-it-out reunion with Carol and wonders where Shane and Lori are. She doesn’t wonder where T-Dog is (no one does), but they tell her anyway. She tells Rick she’s not an enemy, but he tells her they were doing pretty well with the field cleared of zombies and all until her boyfriend came along and shot up the joint.
“He said you fired first,” she explains with her typical combo of naivete and stupidity. She accuses Michonne of poisoning the well, and can’t believe she’s odd man out after all they went through together (which includes her having ill-advised sex with Shane and other boneheaded bad judgments). Merle is way worse, she suggests, pointing a literal finger. She just wants everybody to get along, but Rick says her boyfriend’s days are numbered.
“We’re gonna kill him. I don’t know how or when,” (then maybe he should keep his lack of a plan to himself?).
“Next time you see Phillip, you tell him I’m gonna take his other eye,” Daryl Mthrf*ckin Dixon threatens, far more specifically. Glenn seconds that. “We’ve taken too much shit for too long. He wants a war, he’s got one.”
In response, she wanders into the yard with Michonne for a Sex & the City girl chat, so Michonne can call Andrea out for abandoning her for some guy (“you chose a warm bed over a friend”), accusing her of falling under the Governor’s spell, adding “I did not realize the Messiah complex was contagious.” Meow. She’s being very Miranda, but Michonne has nailed it. First Shane, now the Governor. Andrea always believes whatever the guy she’s gotten naked with last has told her.
Then she heads inside for more bonding with Carol, who suddenly goes all La Femme Nikita. “You need to sleep with him,” (Andrea’s way ahead of you there, Carol) “and then when he’s sleeping, you can end this.” She’s come a long way from last week’s episode “we’re not assassins!” to this, but maybe Axel getting his head blown off and covering her in brain spatter has made her grumpy.
Back at Woodbury, the Governor paints the town as victimized by Rick and his crew. Tyreese, who is reportedly Rick’s right-hand man in the comic version, has seen Rick’s visit to CrazyTown in the TV version. He commits his team to Woodbury.
Andrea returns. The Governor allows her back in. “You belong here,” he says, and then they make out. Either he has a plan… or it’s just the End of the World-goggles and it’s her or poor old arthritic Mrs. McCloud.
Back at the prison, Beth inexplicably bursts into a painful rendition of “Hold On,” despite the fact that we’ve seen nothing in her character that would indicate she’s the sort of girl who’d know all the lyrics to a Tom Waits song (the Wilson Phillips “Hold On”? Sure. That would seem likely.)
As the music shifts to Waits on the soundtrack, we see the Governor enjoying a post-coital snooze alongside Andrea. She pads across the floor naked and plucks Rick’s knife out of her bag, and then holds it over the Governor while attempting to look troubled and conflicted. She can’t do it. (Act, that is.) What else is new?
Next up: Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman will be judging the Walking Dead fan contest. “Fans make videos trying to prove that they are the ultimate Walking Dead fan. And then I’m going to be judging those things.” The winner gets to attend the Season 4 premiere party.
AMC now offers a Dead Yourself app.
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