Remember how I said The Walking Dead doesn't have much compelling dialogue? Well, it's not as if they let that stop them from talking and talking and talking. This is a largely slow episode punctuated by two very good scenes.
Prison. Crazy Rick spots Ghost Lori out in the field by the graves. He chases after her, the apparition leading him further from safety, outside the fences. Michonne, who has apparently taken to sleeping in a wrecked bus out in the field, watches him with some concern, re-locking the gates behind him. She of course can't see Ghost Lori and thinks Rick is crazy. Which he is.
Woodbury. The Governor drops by to visit Andrea, telling her that her uplifting speech was just what the townsfolk needed to hear. She asks about her friends at the prison and he promises that as long as they leave the town alone, he won't retaliate for the recent raid. He asks her to take over running the town; he needs time to get over the loss of his zombie daughter.
Forest. Darryl doesn't like being out the woods, complaining that there's nothing to eat. He wants to return to the prison where there's food, clean water and shelter. Merle scoffs, saying that he's pretty sure the Governor is organizing a raid to murderize all Darryl's friends.
Prison. Glen rants about the prison's weak spots: where Tyrese and his friends got in, walkers and the Governor's people can get in too. (Say, what happened to Tyrese and his friends? Did they actually leave the prison or are they hunkered down somewhere else, trying to stay safe?) Glen turns to Michonne, saying that the two of them could raid Woodbury and kill the Governor, tonight. Herschel reminds him of how he, and Maggie, were nearly killed the last time they were in that town. He counsels leaving the prison before the Governor comes to get them, heading out into the world again. Glen's all, no, that is a really bad idea - this is the safest place we've found. They decide to work on reinforcing the prison's weak spots, plugging up what holes they can.
Woodbury. The Governor visits Milton to pick up a recharged walkie battery. Blah blah blah "I depend on you, Milton ... will you keep tabs on [Andrea] for me?" Later, Andrea discovers that the Governor, Martinez and a couple of others have left the town. When she asks Milton about it, he stammers that they're just out on a supply run. She doesn't believe him.
Prison. Glen and Carl have discovered that the tunnels below are again swarming with walkers for some reason. Glen decides to take a vehicle and scout the far side of the prison to see where they're getting in. He goes to Maggie's bunk to see if she'll go with him but she's curled up, fetal-position, in no mood for any of it. He tells her that she needs to talk about what happened in Woodbury. She snaps, Or do you need to talk about it? She bluntly tells him everything that happened with the Governor, staring intently into Glen's stricken face. She thinks Glen blames her for taking off her shirt, thinks he is judging her for it. He doesn't blame her, of course, but his own rage on her behalf and frustration at having been unable to keep her safe is overwhelming. She slaps at him a couple of times, chasing him off. Outside, up on one of the catwalks, Carol and Axel brace sheet metal and pallets for barricades. They talk, Carol warming up to Axel as he shares what got him into prison in the first place, and then she shows him how to use that gun he's carrying. I'm starting to like Carol - she's becoming one of the more human characters.
Forest. The Dixon boys head towards a creek, bickering: Darryl thinks it's the Yellow Jacket Creek and Merle says no, laughing at him, saying he's lost his sense of direction. Darryl's like, why does everything have to be so difficult with you? They hear screams and shouts up ahead and find a Hispanic family trapped in their stationwagon on a bridge over the creek, biters all around them. Darryl takes off running to help. Merle, on the other hand, trudges behind reluctantly, complaining that he doesn't want to waste bullets on strangers. There are two men, one pretty young, out on the bridge and a woman and squalling baby trapped in the car. Darryl, BECAUSE HE'S EFFING AWESOME, calmly dispatches zombie after zombie, shooting them, stabbing them in the eyes, and mostly excellently crushing the skull of one in the stationwagon's hatchback door. Messy! Merle finally shows up to help and the Dixons clear out the rest of the walkers. Then, because he's a rascist asshole, Merle starts pawing through the family's things, looking for food because he thinks they owe him for saving their asses. Darryl, fed up, points his crossbow at his older brother's head, ordering him to get the hell out of that car. The family drives off and Darryl collects his arrows from various zombie corpses, walking past a sign that reads "Yellow Jacket Creek." So there, Merle, you old shit.
Back out in the woods, Merle taunts and hassles his little brother. Things get heated, Darryl finally snapping that Merle abandoned him long before he left him on that rooftop. They shove each other, Darryl's shirt ripping to show old scars on his back from childhood beatings. Merle stops, saying he didn't know. Darryl's like, of course you knew, he did it to you too before you left. Merle says that he had to leave or he would have killed him - father, stepfather, whomever - otherwise but Darryl's all, whatever, you asshole, I'm going back where I belong. Merle protests that he can't go to the prison with him, "I nearly killed that black bitch" and beat the shit out of "the Chinese kid." Darryl: "He's Korean!" Merle insists that he can't go and Darryl shakes his head, "I may be the one who's walkin' away but you're the one who's leavin' ... again." This scene, along with the bridge zombies, was great.
May I take just a moment to opine again about how much I love Darryl? He's a great character who has grown and changed over the course of the show, but not so much that he's unrecognizable. He's believable and Norman Reedus does a wonderful job with him - he's a way better actor than Andrew Lincoln, who plays Rick. Darryl needs to be the leader of the group. And although the Merle character is despicable, Michael Rooker is outstanding.
Prison. Herschel catches up with Glen in the prison yard and blah blah blah despite what Herschel says to him, Glen can't get past his fury at having been unable to protect Maggie in Woodbury. He points out that with Darryl gone and "Rick in Crazytown," he next in line to be in charge. "What are you proving?" asks Herschel but Glen hops in the pickup truck and drives out of the prison. Inside, Beth gets her sister to help feed the baby. It's therapeutic for Maggie, giving her something to think about other than Woodbury. Good job, Beth. Meanwhile, Rick is wandering around in the scrub outside the prison fences. Herschel hobbles down there and whisper-shouts Rick's name until the sheriff wanders over to him. Blah blah blah WTF are you doing out here, are you coming back inside, we need you. Rick says, hilariously: "I've got [long pause] stuff out here." Herschel is kind to him and infinitely patient, drawing him out until Rick confesses that he's been seeing and hearing Lori. He knows that it's not really her but thinks it must mean something. I know this is all supposed to make us sympathetic to Rick but mostly I'm just bored.
Michonne watches all this from the field, Carol and Axel from the prison yard. Axel gets some more lines, talking about how he felt better in prison where there were rules and things made sense, and Carol engages with him, asking questions about his past ... and then, because Axel was in danger of becoming sympathetic and gaining some character development, he is shot in the head, splattering Carol with gore. It's the Governor, you see, with a sniper rifle, out on his "supply run."
Now it's a balls-out firefight, the Governor, Martinez and another guy shooting at the prison from beyond the fences, another Woodburian somehow up in a guardtower. Carol cowers behind poor Axel's body; Rick dives into a drainage ditch; Herschel drops flat into the field's tall grass. The shooting goes on and on, and for folks who have no trouble dropping zombies with single head shots, not to mention that impressive single sniper shot that got Axel, no one can hit another human being now for all the bullets that are whizzing around. Maggie runs out with more guns for herself, Carl and Beth. An engine roars: it's a panel truck that barrels up the prison access road and crashes through the two layers of fencing. The driver, wearing full riot gear, opens the truck's back doors, releasing dozens of zombies into the prison's field. Maggie gets lucky and kills the guy shooting from the guard tower. The Governor smugly surveys the damage he's done and drives off with his remaining thugs.
With the guns gone, Michonne can finally get in on the action, slicing and dicing the milling zombies and helping get Herschel in the pickup truck when Glen finally drives back up. Outside the fences, Rick is trapped by walkers, struggling hand to hand with them ... until the Dixon brothers arrive, putting the zombies down and rescuing Rick. The immediate threat over - other than the zombies lurching around the prison field - the surviving humans (which is all of them, except poor Axel) stand and stare at the wreckage of their once-safe home.
Previously on The Walking Dead / next time on The Walking Dead
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