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The prison storyline is in full swing, and after a visit to Woodbury for an episode we return to Rick and company. As a fan of the graphic novel I’ve been anticipating this season with a bit of trepidation. The show has changed things, mostly in a favorable fashion for the new medium the story is being told in. But how would a Governor who doesn’t look like a skeevy drowned rat looking Harbinger work out? The man on screen is no where near what anyone would picture the Governor looking like, and the show has done a fairly decent job of translating the basic aesthetic of the characters to the screen.
In the end, who plays the Governor isn’t what matters. As last week showed, the Governor is an idea. A force. He’s an opposing ideal to Rick’s in a world where survival may take everything from you, or twist you beyond all measure. Oh yeah, it’s been a bit but we’re back to covering The Walking Dead again here at TV Blend. Let’s cut through that chintzy wire and see what’s up in the prison, shall we?
No matter what Rick does, no matter the hard line stance he takes, there is no way he can protect everyone. Including his family. This episode saw us begin with Rick and the prisoners having it out again about the deal made two weeks ago, where the prisoners could stay locked in their cell block or hit the road. It’s interesting to note that T-Dog is the voice of reason, even maybe a bit of the old ways. When asked if he’d rather have his friend’s blood on his hands or the prisoner’s, T-Dog replies that he’d prefer neither. You know, what most sane and good people would want.
But it’s a harsh world now, and Rick has been pushed to the limit by what happened with the Shane standoff last season and the hordes of zombies. We may be rooting for team Grimes as he’s the hero, but the man is using similar tactics to protect his people as the Governor does for Woodbury. The difference is that Rick wears his emotions out in the open, and the Governor is secretive. The walls may be made of physically different media, but the ideas behind them are the same.
The contention in the end is that while they may be able to trust the prisoners, they can’t know for sure. It’s safer to keep them out of the group. Despite pleading with Rick that they’ll do anything to prove themselves, the prisoners are told they’re not welcome. Rick has Glenn provide the two men with a week’s worth of goodies, and that’s that.
Before we move on to the chaos that happens next in the prison I’d like to take a moment to at least acknowledge the changes that have already happened between the graphic novel and the show. Dale was killed last season, so he obviously can’t lose his leg. That task goes to Hershel, but that also means no work is being done on the farming aspect. Lots of talk about planting crops in the prison yard, but little progress made as the farmer is out of commission. It’s a little ingenious to trade Hershel for Dale in this story as what’s happening would really be helped by a man who is skilled in healing and growing food. A lot of what happened this week would have gone differently had Hershel been at full capacity.
So there’s this pregnant lady, kid, and a cripple standing in a prison yard. Stop me if you’ve heard this one. Yeah, that lineup against a new zombie horde doesn’t look promising. The gate that was broken open by a mysterious man in the opening sequence (my two guesses were that somehow the man Rick abandoned survived, or more likely it was one of the prisoners that wasn’t Axel or Oscar) has allowed an infestation of walkers into the prison.
Rick, T-Dog, Glenn, and Daryl are making their way back into the prison to try and save the day as everyone backs themselves into the cell blocks to escape. Rick finds Oscar and Axel and accuses them of the attack, but then the alarms go off and it turns out there’s a mystery man inside using the generators to power the alarms. I don’t care what his ultimate plan is, and by the stupidity of said plan it has to be a prisoner, it’s not going to work in anyone’s favor to lure more zombies to the prison.
Let’s take a moment to remember what a kick ass man T-Dog was. He may have been used little in the show, but the man took a hard stance for doing the decent thing. When he was bitten in the yard and they escaped into the prison Carol promised to do whatever it took to help him. But T-Dog said that it was God’s plan for this to happen. He had a purpose, and it presented itself as he sacrificed himself to let Carol escape. You might have been the last vestige of the sanity Dale represented T-Dog, and we’ll miss you.
Meanwhile Rick, Oscar, and Daryl make it safely to the generator room only to find the other prisoner. Aside from the main two guys and Tomas, who was a featured bad guy, I kind of forgot about this dude until now. In fact, when I saw Andrew standing there I momentarily thought, “Hey, wasn’t he killed already?” In any case, Andrew coaxes Oscar to shoot Rick. Oscar shoots Andrew, knowing that Rick and company are the true survivors and they’re where he needs to be to live. He proves that he would indeed do anything to be allowed into the group.
OK, seriously you’ve read all the way to this point and Lori dies this episode. There. No spoiler warning, because this is a recap of the show. And I can still see the full-page image from the graphic novel of how Lori dies, it’s devastating. But you know what? The show trumped the book for the first time on a massive scale.
Carl, Maggie, and Lori get chased into a boiler room where Lori goes into labor. During a contraction she begins to hemorrhage and they need to cut the baby out. My wife doesn’t like the character of Lori, and I have to admit I’m not fond of her either. But the scene between her and Carl is intense and sweet, and just perfect. It’s so horrible that not only does this young boy have to watch his mother die in order to save her unborn child, but he has to ensure she doesn’t return as a zombie. Because that’s the reality he knows now.
As emotional and powerful as that moment was, Andrew Lincoln ripped out every fan’s heart when he sees Maggie holding his child and asks, “Where is she?” Walks over, realizes what happened, looks at his son and says “Oh no.” An exclamation full of sadness, despair, and utter loss. He’ll never get to make amends with his wife, who smiled at him through the fence just before shit went bad. He’ll never get a chance to mend his family. Whatever was put between them, the wall that has arisen because of the past, can never be removed.
So not much happened in Woodbury. Well, stuff was put in motion as Merle is planning to head out looking for his brother. And Michonne is not a trusting gal. It was a bit interesting that the Governor revealed his name to Andrea so soon after telling her he’d never do so.
That’s going to do it for us this week, hopefully we’ll get more into the Woodbury aspect of the show next time around. Lots of set up going on around those parts, but not much action.