This week, after an intense pair of episodes set almost entirely at the prison, The Walking Dead follows Andrea and Michonne to the safe haven (ha!) of Woodbury and introduces perhaps the only character scarier than Daryl’s “late” brother, Merle. Wanna come along for the ride? Buckle up and read on!
DEAD TO FLIGHTS | The crash of a military chopper draws the attention of not only our post-apocalyptic Thelma and Louise but also a well-armed band of survivors led by (as if you didn’t know) the Governor of comic book infamy. To keep from being discovered, Michonne beheads her noisy zombie pack mules. But her sacrifice turns out to be for naught: Just as the men start to leave — or so we think! — someone gets the drop on our heroines from behind. “How about a big hug for your ol’ pal, Merle?” asks the creepiest redneck this side of Deliverance. Shudder.
MAYBERRY 2.0? | After the women and injured chopper pilot are transported to the Governor-run smalltown of Woodbury — think: a Norman Rockwell painting, only with machine guns instead of apple pies — Andrea and Merle play an uncomfortable game of catch-up that includes such segments as (and I paraphrase) “So that’s how come I have a bayonet where my hand used to be!” and “Want me to tell you who died in chronological order or alphabetically?” It’s the Governor, though, who gets to deliver the biggest news flash: He explains to Andrea and Michonne that he brained the deceased servicemen because, even if you aren’t bitten, you still come back as a walker. (Or a biter… or a lurker… Dude’s got name’s for everything!)
THERE’S ONE BORN EVERY MINUTE | At first, both Andrea and Michonne are beyond skeptical of Woodbury and the Governor. However, once he turns on the Clintonian charm, Andrea becomes blonde putty in his hands. (Oh, Andrea. First Shane, now this?) Anyway, unbeknownst to either gal (yet?), once the Governor learns from the pilot where the rest of his squadron is located, he and his men stage an ambush and murder them all in cold blood. Afterwards, the Governor winds down by banging the town welcome wagon, pouring a drink and gazing at his wall of aquariums full of walker heads. Again, shudder.
CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER | If right-“hand” man Merle is the Governor’s brawn (not that he seems to need any help in that area!), his brain, we learn, is a scientist named Milton. Over breakfast with the Governor, Andrea and Michonne, he reveals his hypothesis that some aspect of the people that walkers used to be remains even after they’ve been turned — “like an echo.” He then asks Michonne if she knew the zombies that she and Andrea used as camouflage. “No,” Michonne says. “Yes,” Andrea can tell she means. This leads to the women later having an argument about how, even after months together, Michonne refuses to open up to Andrea. It also leads me to think that maybe the wife and kid whose picture the Governor has framed are still semi-alive… maybe in one of those ghastly fish tanks?
Okay, your turn. What did you think of the episode? Did the Governor live up to your expectations? What do you make of the “new” Merle? And how crazy did it make you to have to go this whole hour without finding out who or what was stalking Carol at the end of last week? Hit the comments with your, um, comments.