When one falls, another shall rise. See the new black male character arrive, watch as the old one is killed off. I hope it’s accidental that this has happened twice in the season, but it’s odd that Team Grimes Penitentiary can only have one black man in the group at a time. OK, we’ve gotten that out of the way let us move on to the cliffhangingest episode ever. Governor v. Michonne; Rick v. Shane; Daryl v. Merle; it was a madhouse this week and we capped off the finest group of episodes the show has yet done with a doozy.
Chippity choppin’ faces, this is the introduction of Tyrese. A character that appears in the comics at the very beginning; I’d thought they just decided to have T-Dog as the Tyrese character and we’d never see the man, but he made his debut in true survivor fashion. It was beautiful to watch this small band of people struggling with the issue of whether they can kill a friend who has yet to turn. There was a time when everyone on the show had the internal quarrel.
”Now that I see him, I do pity him.” – Frodo Baggins, Lord of the Rings
Two sides, one man. Andrea sits and looks at a picture of the Governor’s family, then he comes over and they discuss how Woodbury is so nice. Oh this quant little town where everything is safe and wonderful, and oh yeah….I’m keeping my zombie daughter in the other room. There’s pure madness in the Governor, but watching as he desperately pleads for his daughter to look at him you realize that this is a man driven beyond the brink. Is this Rick’s future? We’ve already seen him go a bit mad with the phone call incident. Are we, at this early stage in the overall story, seeing a glimpse into the future?
”When a good man goes to war.” – River Song, Doctor Who
Glenn and Maggie reconnect, and Glenn’s first worry is for Maggie. Which I understand as a viewer, having watched the Governor get his Rape Creep Show on. But the dude is pulverized; yet he worries for her safety and sanity. And then proceeds to rip off a walker arm, rend the flesh from the bone, and give the walker shiv to his lady. It’s the hot engagement gift of the post apocalyptic zombie world.
Cut to the Grimes Posse + Michonne waiting outside the walls of Woodbury. For a woman who wants to be accepted by these people, Michonne sure does go off half-cocked at times. I understand she’s trying to balance her desire for revengeance against the evil Governor with her need to be with people she can trust, but pulling ninja disappearing reappearing tricks is of no help in that regard. Quick cut to the Governor and Merle talking about the prison – in the comics the Governor wants the place because it’s defensible from walkers in a way the town could never be, but our version of the Governor talks about how people need to be surrounded by what once was. This man is far more calculating than anyone understands.
The Grimes Strikeforce Team penetrates Woodbury and holes up in a building, but a resident spots them. Coming to investigate the man is captured. What we’re about to have here is a failure to communicate. I mean, they’re rolling around the town with weaponry, knocking out and capturing average middle-aged dudes. How could Rick expect anything but the worst possible outcome from this trip?
“My, my…that is interesting.” – Axl
Back at Carl’s Penitentiary And Headshot Emporium Axl says the wrong thing to a young girl. There are a lot of responses to a girl when she tells you her age is seventeen. “17? That’s interesting,” is not one that is acceptable. Carol takes Axl aside to tell him to stay away. But the man explains that it’s been a long while, and there are no available women for him. OK, gotcha. Totally overreacted to you skeeving on a young girl. Wait, no, it’s still wrong. Carol also explained that having short hair is not indicative of having a case of the lesbians.
Glenn and Maggie get the drop on Merle as he comes in, but their victory is short lived as backup arrives. But wait! There’s more table turning to come as the Grimes team shows up to rescue their friends. From here on out it’s a wonderland of smoke grenades and flashbangs as a full on firefight breaks out in Woodbury. Michonne slips away from the group. Glenn tells Daryl that Merle is responsible for what happened, and then comes the line you know the writers loved putting in there. “My brother’s this Governor?” Remember when we all thought that Merle would resurface as the Governor. Hashtag 2010Memories. Daryl insists on going to talk with his brother, but Rick reasons with him. Asking the man if he’s on the same team and willing to help them survive.
The Governor’s Core get together to formulate a plan to search for the infiltrators. Andrea wants to help, but the Governor tells her to go be a good little lady and check on the villagers. Someone should tell him that in the midseason finale a lot of the secrets that have been danced around are going to be revealed, so might as well make use of an able soldier since she’s about to learn the truth anyways.
The battle begins and I can’t help but think that these people need to talk more. You took our people, we came to get them…let us go. We’re only shooting to survive and rescue our friends. Hey, does anyone else remember that there are frakin’ zombies everywhere? We should really think about a truce so that we can focus fire on the real threat. Instead Oscar is killed and Daryl is captured.
Michonne ran away to go wait for the Governor, but instead finds Penny. The Governor shows up, pleads with Michonne, and watches his walking dead daughter become his all the way dead daughter via katana through the head. A bar brawl ensues between Michonne and the Governor which ends with the fish tank heads being strewn about the floor and the Governor with a glass shard in his eye. Unfortunately Andrea shows up before Michonne can take the man’s arm, or life. I’d have accepted either one.
”Back away from the door, and let the man go.” – Tyrese
Back at the pokey, screaming voices from within the prison are heard. Carl goes to investigate and saves Tyrese and his gang from the pursuing zombies. He then insists that the girl who was bitten needs to be taken care of. Tyrese insists that they’ll do it themselves. Then Carl does a big boy thing and sets the newcomers up in a nice cell, and locks them in. This moment could have been cheesy, but they keep a lock on Tyrese as he calls Carl a man in a nonchalant manner. It’s a good setup, and Carl isn’t abandoning them to the outside world. This arrangement is for the benefit of all, for the moment.
Andrea confronts the Governor in the infirmary about Michonne, the zombie heads, and Penny. He gives her excuses, I think maybe Andrea can begin her redemption, but she stays with him. Is this woman ever going to make a stand? Or does it have to be thrust upon her. Then Merle shows up, who didn’t kill Michonne like he said, and the Governor looks pissed.
”You need me.” – Michonne
Michonne rejoins team Grimes and their trust is thin. Rick takes her sword. Michonne tells them that she can help them get back to the prison, or go back to get Daryl. Now that she’s had her Governor showdown she’s ready to settle down a bit. Maybe even relax for the first time in months with friends nearby to protect her.
And then we come to it. The Governor cannot promise the people protection. So, like any good politician he distracts the public with false vengeance. The Governor accuses Merle of working for the infiltrators, and then Daryl is brought out. The two are together for the first time since episode one of the series. Pit against one another in a fight to the death. But we’ll have to wait until February to find out how that showdown ends.