The Walking Dead, Season 3, Episode 14, Prey

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photo Gene Page, AMC

After last week’s mind-numbingly slow episode, what fans were clearly clamoring for was… more Andrea…? Wait. What?! No one was clamoring for more Andrea, but that’s what we got, last night on Walking Dead.

Last week: the Governor and Rick finally had their sit-down, and Andrea was quickly booted to the curb by both of them. Where is home now? What is her role in brokering a peace? Apparently, it is to waste an entire episode trying to get to the Prison to warn them about the Governor’s intent to torture Michonne and slaughter the rest of them. This episode was as unsuccessful in its focus as Clear was riveting when it narrowed its bottle episode to Rick, Michonne, Carl, and a re-entry of Morgan (oh, and one powerfully metaphorical hitchhiker). Had this week’s episode been heavily edited and sped up, and combined with last week’s, Arrow on the Doorstep, it might’ve added up to one good penultimate episode, leading to an epic Finale (as it is, there are still two episodes left, and this season has a serious pacing problem).

In the cold open, there is a flashback to Andrea and Michonne’s time alone out on the road. As the two girl-bond over assorted canned goods heated over a campfire, Andrea quizzes her about her pets — her amputee zombies on chains. “They deserve what they got. They wasn’t human to begin with,” Michonne responds, sounding a lot like Oprah in The Color Purple in her rather pragmatic plainspoken delivery, “I luz Harpo, Lord knows I do…but…”)

That’s it for a flashback?! No flashbacks to the CDC figuring out the Virus and explaining it?! No flashbacks to Daryl Mthrfckin Dixon pre-Apocalypse?!

Aside (if we’re gonna have flashbacks…and we’re all mostly agreed that we should):

  • why are all those corpses still in the cars along the roads — they apparently never re-animated?
  • when the CDC guy said, “we’re all infected,” did he mean the Grimes survivors, or all of humanity?
  • how did everybody get infected? — besides the bites or scratches, didn’t some folks initially just mysteriously come down with fevers; die; and re-animate (like Morgan’s wife seemed to)? Why?
  • why did some people get attacked and die and take a little time to reanimate (like Andrea’s sister), and others get bitten, and linger sick or dying for days before dying and then re-animating (like, that one guy, in season one, who just feverishly lounged around the Winnebago asking to be put out of his misery)?
  • why are so many of these roles played by British actors (Rick, Maggie, Morgan, the Governor…)?
  • how long will it take, realistically, to get wi-fi back?

If they needed to fill time until the season finale, there are dozens of questions that could occupy the TV viewers, that might (or might not) already have been settled for the comic book readers. For that matter, Tyreese could just hammer things. We’ve seen far too little of him so far in the series. (Heck, they could’ve just shown us a nice long trailer for the final installments of Breaking Bad.)

Instead, we get an entire hour of Andrea and Woodbury. The sweaty Governor has prepped a torture chamber, or “workshop” for Michonne, and Milton discovers it. There’s a dentist’s chair, and an array of instruments worthy of David Cronenberg’s Dead Ringers. Milton shows Andrea, the two of them spying from above as the Governor whistles creepily while he works (it sounds like one of the tunes he played on vinyl for his zombie daughter). Andrea’s finally strong enough to end it right there, with a gun, but Milton stops her. Then he explains to her that he knew the old Phillip, and he’s still in there. She’s unmoved. Then he says that killing the Governor won’t even save her friends. Martinez would just take over, Andrea would get shot, and the prison gang would still get slaughtered. She tries to get him to come along as part of her Cassandra expedition, but he wants no part of that. He “belongs” at Woodbury.

She sets out, talking her way past Martinez, and then the Governor (“I just want to help”). Tyreese reluctantly lets her jump the wall, but tattles to the Governor, clearly trying to do the right thing. “I hope this doesn’t affect us; I hope I didn’t complicate things.” In manufactured conflict, Tyreese’s crew (whose names we are not about to bother learning) tries to convince him not to ruin things for them (and they blather some backstory about their gang that no one could possibly care about). They are just finale fodder at this point. We don’t care about them now; we won’t miss them when they go.  It’s just like when Big Tiny… Wait, everybody remember Big Tiny?  No…? Exactly. Martinez takes Tyreese and his anonymous crew on an errand to the Biter Traps, and Tyreese is morally indignant that they want to weaponize zombies to use against women and children.

The rest of the episode is largely the Governor chasing down Andrea in his truck in scenes that look a lot like they were lifted from, or at least inspired by, Twister. She starts out on the road, but obviously he can drive faster than she can run. (He lays on the horn like a maniac for no apparent reason other than… he’s a maniac?) She flees to the woods, but the woods are filled with zombies. Hijinks ensue. He follows her into an abandoned building, which is, not surprisingly, also filled with zombies. More creepy whistling from him. More zombie hand-to-hand combat. Like last week, all these Tom and Jerry antics are supposed to be rife with tension, but since it doesn’t seem likely that the Governor would die before the Finale, it’s all fairly anti-climactic.

Meanwhile, in another uninteresting subplot, an unidentified figure — who is totally Milton, even though Tyreese is the one blamed — sets fire to the traps in a giant ZombieQ. (Milton has signed on for a CBS series next Fall, so….) The next day, the zombies are charred, but still squirmy.

Andrea makes a fancy sidestep or two and abandons him to a nest of advancing walkers, and eventually makes it as far as the prison. She’s just waving a relieved hello to Rick in his watchtower when… not so fast! Out of nowhere (nowhere!) the Governor suddenly resurfaces and claws her to the ground with his hand over her mouth. Rick, the least observant guy in the zombie apocalypse, doesn’t see a thing.

So it turns out, the Governor’s workshop is about to get a torture test run before he even has a chance to get his speculum into Michonne.

Unfortunately, this can only mean one thing: more screen time for Andrea.

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How You Can Attend the Walking Dead Season 4 Premiere

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. Winner will be announced after the March 31 Season 3 finale.

Also, AMC now offers a Dead Yourself app.

Walking Dead Season 3 Episode Recaps

Season 3, Episode 13, Arrow on the Doorpost

Season 3, Episode 12 Clear

Season 3, Episode 11 I Ain’t a Judas

Season 3, Episode 10 Home

The Ace Interview with Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman

 

 



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