What we've got here is a lot of talking interspersed with some pretty good stuff. I'm probably going to go light on the dialogue but I promise you won't be missing much.
The Governor has sent Merle and three other fellows, also known as "Redshirts" or "fodder," out to hunt down Michonne. They're supposed to bring back her decapitated head (for his aquarium collection, I imagine) and her sword. Out in the woods, using zombie body parts, she leaves them a warning/visual gag that I won't spoil for you here - but even Merle thinks it's clever. Then she drops down from the trees and slices off one of the guy's heads. She uses another guy as a shield as Merle shoots at her, catching a bullet in her thigh before running off into the woods.
The A.V. Club reviewer really liked the scenes with Rick on the phone, appreciating the building tension and how they showed a desperate Rick coming apart at the scenes. I thought that it was obvious that he was losing it, his poor mind trying to come to grips with what's happened. I guess his slight slide into madness is better and more realistic than the more usual television tropes of just bouncing back to normal right away or going completely batshit crazy. Anyway, when Herschel hobbles down to check on him, Rick tells him that he's been getting phone calls from other survivors. Herschel is decent and canny enough not to give anything away when he listens to the empty phone line, but it's clear from the gentle, careful expression on his face that he's concerned about Rick. What it comes down to is Rick is talking to people he's lost, dead folks like Andrea's sister Amy and the recently-departed Lori, and by the end of the episode he realizes what he's doing and comes to terms with his losses.
Back in Woodbury, Andrea asked the Governor if she can work the wall: she used to be a good shot and would like to keep her skills up. He asks her if she'd be willing to learn to use a bow and she says yes, so he pairs her up with a teenaged girl who supposedly was a competitive archer in Life Before the Zombies. The girl is, in fact, a terrible shot and when she keeps missing the one walker that is approaching the wall, Andrea can't stand it any longer. She jumps down from the wall, ignoring the girl's shouted protests, sweeps the zombie's legs out from under it and stabs it through the skull. She jumps back up, totally stoked.
Merle and the remaining fodder manage to track Michonne down and engage her, but a small pod of zombies converges on them, drawn by the gunshots. The wounded Michonne is off her game, missing one of her sword strokes and gutting a zombie, sending its gory bellyful of intestines spilling out over her. As Merle and the other guy finish off the other walkers, Michonne gets away. The last guy wants to chase after her but Merle says that she's headed into "the Red Zone," and is as good as dead. When the guy complains that he's not going to lie to the Governor about what happened to Michonne, Merle just shoots him in the head, figuring he can do the lying himself. So, Merle's not entirely reformed, then.
Back at the prison, Darryl, Carl and Oscar are doing a sweep of the lower tunnels. They pass a door, held closed by a zombie corpse; something inside the room is banging softly on the door but Darryl says they'll get that one on their way back. As they walk, Darryl tells Carl a long story about how he lost his own mother: she was drunk and smoking in bed and burned the house down around herself. Carl tells him that he shot Lori before she was able to reanimate. The boy pauses, then tells Darryl, "I'm sorry about your mom." Darryl looks at him solemnly: "I'm sorry about yours."
The Governor chastises Andrea for going over the wall but says he understands why she did it. She admits to him that she did, in fact, enjoy the fights the other night - she just didn't like that she liked them. Then they flirt, just a little. Later, he takes her to his back garden for conversation and a drink. They flirt some more and start making out.
As still gore-covered Michonne collects her pack from where she'd hid it, a small pod of zombies approaches. She reaches for her sword but they walk right by without giving her a single look, hidden as she is by the coating of zombie guts. Later she makes her way into the small town where Glen and Maggie just so happen to be making a scavenging run. As Michonne watches, hiding behind a derelict car, Maggie foolishly proclaims that "it's a beautiful day," thereby guaranteeing that things are about to go to hell. Lo and behold, as Glen walks out of a market with a basket of powdered baby formula, Merle shows up. Glen and Maggie draw their guns on him as he turns on the good ol' boy charm, asking how Darryl is. Glen refuses to bring Merle back with them but promises that if Merle stays here, he'll send his brother back out to meet him. Michonne watches all this but is too shaky from her wound to intervene. Merle draws his own gun and grabs Maggie, holding his gun to her head and forcing Glen to drive all three of them back to Woodbury.
Darryl, Carl and Oscar kill a zombie - overkill it really, with multiple bullets and an arrow to the head for good measure - then Darryl pulls a knife out of the corpse's neck. It's Carol's knife. He wipes the blade clean, retreating into himself as he wonders what happened to his friend.
Andrea and the Governor do the dance with no pants but they are interrupted when Merle returns to give his report. The Governor goes out into the hallway to hear what he has to say: the other three men are dead, Michonne is dead too but he didn't get her head and sword because they were swarmed by zombies. Merle is quite the liar. He appeases his boss by telling him "[b]ut I brought you something else." The Governor asks if Glen and Maggie know Andrea and Merle says he'll find out where they've been holed up. The Governor goes back to Andrea for round 2, pointedly not telling her that Merle has captured her friends.
As Rick rejoins the group, washed up and seemingly sane, holding his daughter for the first time, poor Darryl sits alone in the tunnels, outside that rattling door. He pounds Carol's knife into the floor, certain that it's her behind that door, all zombified and waiting for him to kill her. Finally, he works himself up enough and yanks open the door. It's Carol in there all right, but she's human, weak and dazed. Darryl scoops her into his arms and makes his way back upstairs.
Rick and the baby (jeez, name her already), Carl, Herschel and Beth go out to the yard for some fresh air. Rick glances over at the fence where some zombies are clustered and hands the baby to Carl. He walks across the field to the fence. Standing there among the zombies, still covered in guts and holding the shopping basket full of formula, staring back at Rick through the chainlink fence, is Michonne. Damn - she and Rick are going to have a LOT to talk about.
Previously on The Walking Dead / next time on The Walking Dead
7 hours ago