The Walking Dead Recap/Review
By Jessica Dwyer
The Walking Dead has many levels to it, and one of the main story levels is family and home. As the simple one word episode title states, that’s the center of what this episode is about, but there’s far more to the concept than a lot of people think.
Home to some of the characters is simply your family. Home can mean the place you feel safe. Other times home means just the opposite of safe. It’s something this series does well because the concept of The Walking Dead’s universe is pretty much the end of the world and the loss of everything you’ve ever known. Home is no longer home.
As I suspected last week The Governor is out to use Andrea to help control Woodbury. In this instance he’s lost his family and that last piece of anything that connected him to humanity (his daughter.) His home, even though Woodbury is still in one piece, has been taken from him by Michonne and Rick’s crew. He’s angry and he wants revenge, even though he tells exactly the opposite to Andrea.
The Governor plays her like a fiddle. That slight, hesitant, almost admitting he needs her was most assuredly fake. He knows she’s looking for someone to connect with since she’s lost everything too. He knows she needs some sort of connection. And so he works that angle. It’s the same with Milton, making the man feel needed and as though he’s important to him. Playing to his need to feel important to the Governor and making him feel “manly” by saying he’d take a bullet for him and putting him on the same level as a soldier.
The man is a smooth, crazy operator. And Andrea doesn’t really figure it out until it’s too late that he’s lied about the whole not going to seek payback on the prison gang. Will it matter to her when she figures that out? Who’s to say…Andrea is stuck between a rock and a hard place of her own making.
Speaking of crazy, Rick is once again losing it and seeing Lori everywhere. This is his version of home and its forever lost to him. This is again more of the similarity between Rick and the Gov. They can’t ever get these pieces of home back. Lori’s spirit seems to have a purpose though, and perhaps we will see what that is by the end of the episode. But I still feel this part of the story is more of a way the series is showing us how similar the paths of Rick and the Gov are.
Maggie and Glen’s story during this and last week’s episode is growing a bit repetitive. I’m not quite sure why they are so angry with one another or at least that’s what it feels like. But this part of the story is showing that need to protect your home and family, what Glen feels he failed to do with Maggie. He’s now desperate to show he can do that, to step up and be the leader for the group with Rick’s mind seemingly broken. This seems to be blinding him to the very thing he needs to see, which is Maggie herself, something that it takes Herschel to see.
Herschel’s role in this episode is one of a voice of reason, if we know The Governor is coming, we need to leave. Glen wants to go on an assassination run to Woodbury and kill him before he has time to react. The rest of the group either doesn’t want to leave or doesn’t know what to do…but they don’t feel up to the task of Glen’s plan. Glen doesn’t want to leave the prison though, it’s their home. It’s a bad situation all the way around and no good outcome can come from any one of the choices before them. Also at this point Tyreese and his crew have disappeared, taken off for parts unknown.
In the part of the episode I like to call The Dead of Hazzard, Daryl and Merle Dixon are traveling the woods and trying to decide which of them is right about the direction they are going. We’ve not really had time together with Daryl and Merle like this, and it’s entertaining to see Rooker and Reedus play off of one another. When Daryl hears what he thinks is a baby crying (thoughts of Little Ass Kicker in his head) he runs off and discovers a Mexican family being attacked by walkers on a bridge.
This scene is pretty amazing and the music is great, bringing in a whole southern undercurrent of bad ass to the mix as Daryl takes out most of the walkers and Merle steps in to help out for a couple. The zombie gore runs fast and free. When it’s all over and Merle decides they’ve earned some payback from the family Daryl pulls his crossbow on him, telling him to leave them alone and tells the family to get the hell out of there.
This leads to a moment of revelation on the Dixon family dynamic and also another one of those many references throughout the episode of what home is. Daryl finally tells his brother what he thinks of him. He defends his choice of staying with Rick and his crew, and tells Merle that his lost hand was his choice long before it was actually cut off. We also discover that Merle left his brother behind to an abusive father who was also abusive to Merle. It’s a great scene and Merle actually shows something other than hate and smarminess in his face. Rooker’s stricken expression tells it all as he sees Daryl returning to the prison gang which is more of a home to him than his own family has been.
Back at the prison, Axel and Carol have been flirting a bit and we’ve learned about Axel’s past issues. He’s not been a lucky guy…and Carol’s history with men hasn’t been so lucky either. Turns out that both their bad luck has come to nail Axel straight in the head with a messy bullet (I blame myself after posting on Lew Temple’s Facebook page “Please don’t croak, I like Axel.”) Axel’s not really surprising but still crappy death starts off one of the most awesome scenes of the season. Carol smartly uses his now dead body to shield herself (Carol seems to be the angel of death anymore…first T Dog and now Axel have kept her alive.) And we see that The Governor is the man who pulled the trigger. It’s on.
Bullets start flying and Herschel is trapped in a field as is Rick who he was trying to talk back inside. You wonder if Lori’s spirit was trying to get Rick into a position he needed to be in before the attack started. As it is though, Carl and Beth are trapped in the courtyard and Carol is trapped with the rapidly hole filled body of Axel. Michonne is trapped next to a bus. Glen has left and is unaware of what is going on. Bullets keep flying and things are not looking great at all. Maggie comes running out of the prison carrying some big ass guns…and I wonder while all this is happening “Who’s with the baby?” The answer is no one…and that’s sort of a scary thought isn’t it?
This is no sound stage and this entire sequence, already awesome, ratchets up past ten when we see a delivery truck come rocketing through the gates at high speeds and crashing into the prison grounds. The Gov seems to be smiling creepily at this as the truck comes to rest in the middle of the field. A few seconds pass and then the back of the truck opens up…and out pour a horde of walkers. This is a Walker Delivery and it is beyond messed up. The driver comes running out of the van in full body armor and brandishing a gun and you finally realize just how gone and evil The Gov truly is.
Rick is running out of ammo and Herschel is about to be killed as he’s in the same area as the walkers that just showed up. Glen arrives, passing the Gov on the road back into the prison as he’s heading back to Woodbury, his message delivered. Glen manages to get Herschel and everyone (sans Rick) into his truck and back to relative safety.
Rick’s about to become biter food, with two walkers holding onto him; then suddenly an arrow bursts through one’s head. The Dixon boys, both of them, have come home. Merle and Daryl help Rick take out some of the walkers but there are still a lot left to handle and the noise of the gunfire has no doubt attracted a ton more.
As the episode ends we see Rick looking at the horde and the horror that has been brought to his home and his expression is dark and dangerous and filled with just as much fury as ever we’ve seen. Retribution is about to come down hard I have a feeling, straight into the heart of Woodbury. Rick’s family and his home have been attacked and that’s something that no law man or man for that matter will stand for. It’s going to be an eye for an eye, and the Governor only has one left…and I think Rick’s ready to stab it out. This may be my favorite episode of the season and I can’t wait to see how they top it.