Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Walking Dead S3E8 "Made to Suffer" (12/2/12)

There's a lot of person-to-person fighting and violence in this mid-season finale.  It's the whole "people are the real problem, despite the zombies" thing.

We open with a brand new bunch of survivors, running through the woods, fighting off a pack of walkers.  There's Tyrese, shovel-wielding Sasha, Teenaged Guy, TG's Dad and Zombie Fodder.  They comport themselves fairly well but Zombie Fodder gets bitten on the arm.  They keep running and climb through a hole in a chainlink fence to get into a crumbling brick building.  Zombie Fodder says they should leave her behind, and Sasha agrees, but the rest of them are not ready to let her go quite yet, even knowing that she'll turn.  Sasha is also nervous about going into this big building they know nothing about but Tyrese points out that it's better than another night in the woods (probably).  The camera pulls back as they enter the building and we see that it's actually the backside of the prison.

Woodbury.  After Andrea leaves the apartment, the Governor pays a visit to his zombified daughter, Penny. The poor thing is pathetic, drooling and growling and snapping at his throat.  He tries to get her to respond to him - aside from trying to eat him - but finally gives up, putting the hood back over her head and shoving her back in her closet-cage.  Elsewhere in town, Glen and Maggie await their fate.  Glen is in rough shape but he rouses himself to get up and go over to the zombie corpse on the other side of the room.  As Maggie watches, he pulls the zombie's arm off and strips out two sharp-ended bones (this is totally disgusting, btw).  Now they have weapons.

Outside Woodbury, Rick, Darryl, Michonne and Oscar watch the men on the wall, trying to figure out a way in.  Michonne leaves for a few minutes, annoying the guys, then returns, leading them in.  Inside the town, the Governor tells Merle that he wants to clean the people out of the prison and then let the biters have it back - he doesn't want to move in there, he just doesn't want anyone else to have it either.  Merle insists that Darryl be spared and the Governor is all, yeah, yeah - and go take Glen and the girl to the "screaming pits" (is what I think he says.)  Meanwhile, Rick's group has made their way into one of the buildings on Main Street.  Rick is impatient with Michonne, wanting to know where Glen and Maggie are being kept - even though she couldn't possibly know this since she herself was outside the walls when they were brought in.  Luckily, a watchman shows up and Rick relieves some stress by threatening the guy and knocking him unconscious.

Prison.  Speaking of luckily, Carol intercedes when a far too interested Axel starts chatting Beth up.

Woodbury.  When the Governor's men come for Glen and Maggie, they attack with their sharpened zombie bones. There are too many of the Governor's people, however, and Glen and Maggie's escape is easily thwarted.  Except that Rick and his group heard the gunfire during the struggle, homed in on the location, tossed in a couple of smoke bombs - that conveniently incapacitated the Governor's men but not Rick's group and also kept Merle and Darryl from seeing each other - and grabbed Glen and Maggie out of there.  They make their way back to the street and soon enough the Governor is informed that the town is being raided.  He tells all the townsfolk to go home and lock their doors, and tells his soldiers to shoot to hill.  Andrea wants to help shoot people but he doesn't want her to know that its her former companions so he asks her to make the rounds and check in on the civilians at their homes.

Rick's group circles their wagons for a moment.  Glen tells Darryl that Merle is alive and here and the Governor's right hand man (so to speak) and still pretty much mean and nasty.  Understandably, Darryl wants to see his brother but Rick lays a guilt trip on him, saying that he needs him to get everyone back to the car, especially now that Michonne's gone AWOL.  Darryl pauses, thinks about it, and says he'll stick with the group.  They reload their weapons and head towards the wall.  And where's Michonne?  She's in the Governor's apartment, waiting for him with her sword drawn.  [Now, in the comics she was given plenty of reasons to hate him and want to kill him, but here he's not really been such a monster and her extreme and murderous antipathy towards him seems misplaced.]  Out in the street, more smoke bombs are deployed - so Andrea and Rick's group can't recognize each other - and lots and lots of shooting.

While Darryl lays down covering fire, the rest of them run for the wall.  Glen makes it over; Oscar gets shot helping Maggie and she gives him the coup de grace before scampering over herself.  Rick has a "I'm still not quite sane" moment when he thinks he sees Shane strides towards him, gun drawn; after Rick shoots him in the head, the guy turns out to be just a guy.  In the smoke and confusion, there's an awful lot of shouts of "Rick!" and "Darryl!" and I find it a little difficult to believe that Andrea and Merle didn't hear any of that.  Rick heads over the wall, leaving Darryl behind to make his way over as best he can.  Nice, Rick.  Let me say this now: DO NOT KILL DARRYL OFF, YOU WRITERS.

Prison.  Beth, Herschel and Carl are hanging out when they hear screams coming down the corridors.  After determining that it's not Carol and Axel (who are keeping watch from one of the guard towers - and I hope that's not a euphemism), Carl grabs his gun to go check it out.  I don't like Carl very much but here he's pretty damn bad-ass.  He finds Tyrese's group cornered by a pod of walkers in the generator room.  He shoots several zombies and yells at the humans to follow him.  Sasha, handy with her shovel, helps clear the way; Tyrese carries Zombie Fodder over his shoulder as she's fading fast.

Woodbury.  As Michonne waits for the Governor, she hears a banging from the locked room.  She breaks the door down and is immediately shocked to see the fish tanks o' zombie heads.  Yes, Michonne, you're right: the Governor is one sick fuck.  Just wait.  She hears the banging again and opens up the closet-cage.  Penny staggers out - but since she's wearing that hood, Michonne thinks she's some poor little girl the Governor keeps chained up.  But then she takes off the hood and Penny lunges at her.  Michonne is all, WHAT THE FUCK and draws her sword.  Then the Governor, who is in the doorway, shrieks "Don't hurt her!"  He drops his gun and pleads with Michonne to spare his little girl.  Michonne is all fuck that and runs her sword through Penny's head.  The Governor loses his mind at this and attacks her.  He and Michonne have a long, brutal, ugly fight that involves:  strangling, clawing, beating Michonne's head against the wall, shoving Michonne's face into a zombie aquarium and more strangling ... until Michonne finally grabs a big shard of glass - thoroughly slashing her hand whilst doing so - and shoving it into the Governor's right eye.  Then there's screaming, lots of screaming.  Michonne is about to cut his head off when Andrea appears, gun drawn, shouting, "What did you do?"  Michonne stares at her coldly and walks out.  Andrea goes to the Governor but pauses, seeing all the zombie heads.  The Governor cradles his now really dead daughter and sobs.

Prison.  Carl takes Tyrese's group to the empty cell block next to C Block.  He politely offers to shoot Zombie Fodder - after killing his dead mom, it won't be no thang at all - but Tyrese says they'll take care of their own, and then pulls out a hammer.  [Really?  You'd say no to a humane bullet and clobber your friend's brains out with a hammer instead?  That's a little twisted.]  Carl leaves them to it but locks them in.  Sasha doesn't like this and starts yelling and banging on the door.  Tyrese tells her to chill out - they're in a safer place than they've been for months, and Carl has promised them food and water - "Let the man alone. His house, his rules."

Woodbury.  After the nurse bandages the Governor up, all his direct reports (Andrea, Milton, Merle) file in to find out what's going on.  Privately, Andrea's all, WTF zombie heads, and Governor, who doesn't really want to talk about it, mutters that they help him deal with things.  Outside the town's walls, Rick, Glen and Maggie draw their guns when Michonne rejoins them.  She looks really bad and doesn't protest when Rick takes her sword away.  She says that Rick will need her help to get back to the car, or go back in for Darryl, whichever.  "You need me," she says, her voice soft for once.

At the fight arena, the Governor tells the assembled townsfolk that they've been attacked (obviously), but worse, betrayed.  And who did the betraying?  Why, Merle the scapegoat, of course.  Merle is shoved into the center of the ring, wondering what's going on.  And why did Merle betray the town?  Because of his terrorist brother, Darryl, who also gets shoved into the center.  As the crowd gets whipping into a frenzy, screaming for their blood, the Dixon brothers eye each other, finally reunited since Atlanta, although it's probably not quite the reunion either had imagined.  The Governor glares at Merle with his one eye: "You wanted your brother - you got him."

That's it 'til the season restarts next year.  Let me repeat what I said before: DO NOT KILL DARRYL.  I will be so very cranky if Darryl is killed off. It's funny, though, how the two most compelling characters on this show are two who aren't even in the source material.

Previously on The Walking Dead / next time on The Walking Dead

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