The Walking Dead Recap: Beyond Thunderdome

The Walking Dead Season 3 AndreaBack at last from its winter hiatus, The Walking Dead picks up right where it left off — with the Governor ordering Daryl and Merle to “fight to the death.” Of course, the outcome of their brawl isn’t nearly as shocking as what happens afterwards…

BROTHERS IN ARMS | After throwing a coupla sucker punches, Merle lets Daryl know that he has a plan to get them both out of Woodbury (alive, it bears mentioning). However, before he can execute it, Rick and Co. ride the rescue. Once outside the city limits, Merle reveals to the group not only that Andrea is, er, bunking with the Governor, but that Michonne knows her — and has withheld that information all this time. (Quel scandale!) Natch, this only solidifies Rick’s decision to banish the tight-lipped swordswoman as soon as she’s well enough to fend for herself. As for Merle, no way, no how is the Governor’s lapdog going to be allowed to return with the gang to the prison. Unfortunately, Daryl refuses to leave his sibling again and instead leaves behind his family of friends! (Even — sniff — Carol.)

PANIC IN THE STREETS | Back in Woodbury, all hell breaks loose. The townspeople try to escape for fear of more gunfire, so the guards respond by pointing even more guns at them. (Riiight, that’ll work.) Meanwhile, biters sneak in where Rick and Co. snuck out. At her wit’s end, Andrea attempts to get answers from the Governor, but, since he’s in the middle of a macho-man hissy fit, he tells her that she’s not entitled to any. “You’re just a visitor here,” he snaps. (Ouch.) Left with no alternative, Andrea steps up herself and calms the masses with a speech about how future generations will cheat on pop quizzes in history class about their post-apocalyptic Camelot.

TROUBLE IN PARADISE | Though Glenn and Maggie are miraculously “home,” together and breathing, there’s as much tension in the air as love. He’s in a rage over the fact that, after what the Governor did/almost did to his girlfriend, Rick didn’t kill the one-eyed bastard. And she… well, maybe she’s post-traumatically-stressed, because she just kinda withdraws. Hopefully, by next week, Santa’s… er, Hershel’s words will have gotten through to them: He tells Glenn, “You’re like my own son,” and Maggie, “Don’t disappear on me.” (Oh, Santa, you always know just what to say!)

FIRE IN THE HOLE | Before Rick & Co. return to the prison, Tyreese shuts down Alan and son Ben’s hare-brained scheme to steal Carol and Carl’s weapons and take over the joint. Sadly, his good deed still gets punished. Just when it appears that the sheriff is about to listen to reason (again, Hershel) and grudgingly incorporate the newcomers into their group, he sees a vision of Lori and has the mother of all freak-outs. In the ensuing chaos, Tyreese, Sasha et al are forced to run for their lives, and really, if I were them, I would have done the same. (Somehow walkers don’t seem quite as scary as a crazy man waving around a gun.)

Okay, your turn. What did you think of the show’s comeback episode? Were you surprised that Daryl would ditch Carol and Lil’ Asskicker for Merle? How awesome was it when Rick coldcocked Merle just to shut him the frak up? (Seriously, who hasn’t wanted to do that!) Was it just me, or did you get a sense that maybe Beth was beginning to nurse a crush on Rick? And how much do you want a pawprint T-shirt like Carl’s? Hit the comments with, you know, your, um, comments.