The Walking Dead Recap/Review: “Say the Word”

So, yesterday was a holiday for me, and I took a break. Here’s a nice Tuesday extra for you! Aren’t you excited? I know you are. As always, SPOILERS abound. You’ve been warned! (It DOES say recap…)

Just so you know, I’m going to follow the pieces of Sunday’s story as they make sense to me, not necessarily how they played out on the small screen. So, pay attention, will you? There’s a flow.

“Say the Word” jumped back and forth between the prison and not-so-idyllic Woodbury. It was a satisfying mix of stories that let us keep tabs on all the main plots and bits of crazy floating around.

Speaking of cray-cray, Woodbury is in the midst of some kind of celebration. Everything is dudded up like the 4th of July, only not so much. But, this was the first time I can remember seeing kids run around in Woodbury. Maybe I’m just not that observant, but I’d like to think they were trotted out for a purpose, and I think they were. More on that later, though.

Andrea’s wandering around, talking to folks, and generally falling in love with the town. Michonne, on the other hand, is not. She’s skulking about, looking for the evil she knows is there.

Hold still! Daddy loves you! Image courtesy of AMC.

Evil, huh? Take a gander at what happens next! We’re treated to a charmingly domestic scene with The Governor (TG). He’s gently brushing the hair of his…DEAD DAUGHTER! It’s all fine and dandy (Um, not really.) until he pulls a chunk of scalp and hair away from her ROTTING HEAD.

But, it’s not like he’s totally out of his mind; at least he has his walker daughter restrained. Kinda. Not enough to suit me! She, of course, tries to BITE him, but he, being the understanding daddy, puts a bag over her head, makes sure her restraints are intact and expresses his love.

It’s frighteningly similar to how I express my love to my children.

Not really!

Maybe.

Totally kidding!

Probably.

You can see the struggle in TG’s eyes even as he struggles with the monster that used to be his daughter. I almost felt sorry for him (Darn you, AMC!). He happens to look out the window, and who is looking up at him? Michonne, of course! There’s no way she could have seen anything, let along TG’s exchange with his daughter (who we later find out is named Penny), but you know TG has just about reached his limit with Michonne.

Back at the prison, we pick up right where we left off, with Maggie holding the new baby, Carl looking distraught, and Rick losing his $hit. It’s kinda already gone, though, because he’s just staring, unable to hear what’s happening around him. Finally, his eyes lite on a nearby ax, and he goes for it. We know Rick has understandably jumped off the deep end, and I was pretty sure what he was about to do.

Sure enough, Rick begins to helpfully run amok in the prison, hacking through walkers and probably being mistaken for Chloë Grace Moretz’s Carrie stand in. It’s gory, and frankly, I was turned off by it. It felt like something from the Saw franchise. Ugh. But, at least he’s using his profound grief to do some house cleaning. Half full, right guys?

Back in the prison yard, Daryl steps up and takes control. (GO DARYL!) After Hershel declares the baby healthy, the old coot says what’s been on my mind since Lori bought the farm last week: the kid’s going to die without something to eat. Soon. Formula is the answer, and Daryl readies to go scavenging. Maggie hops on the back of his motorcycle, AKA the loudest FRACKING means of transportation in the area, and they head off down the road.

They find a daycare center fairly easily (what luck!), and get creepin’. Maggie finds some baby bottles in the first cabinet she looks in (so much luck!), and they continue into the facility’s darkened hallways.

By the way the camera kept zooming in on kid-specific decorations and creepy, deserted cribs, I was sure we were about to be set upon by a pack of baby and toddler walkers. Would there be anything more terrifying? As a mother of two, I tell you there would not be!

Sure enough, a rattling sound starts coming from the kitchen. It’s in a cabinet! Oh, no! Don’t open the cabinet! There’s going to be a flesh-eating baby in there! Daryl takes point and Maggie throws open a cabinet to find…a possum (opossum?). It looks scared, and Daryl quips that they’ve just found dinner.

Yum.

Of course, there are several cans of formula in another cabinet.

Let’s talk about the luck of this, shall we? There’s so much luck. So much. Also, I’d like to point out that the little bit of formula they found will not last that long at all. I’ve had to use formula with both of my children, and they go through it like sand through the hour glass on Days of Our Lives.

Back they roar on the loud, fecking motorcycle to the prison. Glenn is keeping an eye out for them, and Oscar and Axel open and close the gate for the motorcycle.

The prisoners are slowly being accepted into the group. That afternoon, while Daryl and Maggie were out, the pair approached Glenn as he was digging a grave. Oscar and Axel definitely want to join the group; they made overtures last week, and their quest continued in this episode when they expressed their sorrow for what had happened. After a time, Glenn bends and accepts their offers of help, telling them that two more graves need to be dug.

Why was Glenn digging in the first place? For the three members of the group who supposedly died in last week’s episode. I say “supposedly” because while Lori and T-Dog are most certainly dead, Carol is still MIA. I don’t think she’s dead. Do you? Also, it’s not like they have bodies to bury. It was more symbolic than anything.

After he leaves the prisoners to dig, Glenn confides to Hershel that he wishes the group had just killed all of the prisoners when they had first discovered them. I don’t mean to insinuate that Glenn doesn’t like Oscar and Axel. After all, Glenn’s pretty easy going overall. But, he regards the people they’ve lost more than the people he’s just met.

It’s during this time that we actually get some backstory for T-Dog! Now that he’s dead, we find out a little more about him.

Nice.

Apparently, T-Dog was a pretty upstanding guy. Last week, we found out he was religious as he accepted his fate and tried to protect Carol. This week, we got a little more of that as Glenn revealed that T-Dog had driven a church van to try to help some old folks after the walker outbreak. It was a nice send-out for a great character we barely knew.

Later, Glenn goes in search of Rick. It’s not hard to find him; Glenn just follows the mangled walkers to find Rick at the end of a hallway, half in shadow and covered in blood and bits of walker. It was very Luke Skywalker battling against the Dark Side. When Glenn tries to reason with Rick, the crazed man pins him to the wall, and then throws him back, ignoring Glenn’s offers of help and assertions that Rick doesn’t have to do this alone. Rick staggers on, leaving Glenn to return to the group.

The positive here is that Rick is slowly ridding the prison of walkers. Everybody wins!

When Daryl and Maggie arrive with the formula, the baby is screaming her head off. Babies don’t wait well. After a brief discussion about what the baby’s name should be, Daryl christens the baby “Little Ass Kicker.”

I gotta say, that wouldn’t have been my first choice, but, hey, I guess I’m not in a walker apocalypse, so who am I to judge? Yeah, here’s hoping they come up with a real name, soon.

It was nice to see Daryl taking such a keen interest in the baby, though. I wanted to think it was because he felt a certain kinship with her; she’d been abandoned by her parents, rather like he was abandoned by his. We’ll see how that pans out.

In Woodbury, the celebration continues. They never come right out and say what’s being celebrated, but you get the idea it’s a party to celebrate survival. I can get behind that.

While Andrea is off drinking the Kool-Aid, Michonne decides to poke around TG’s personal quarters, recovering her katana (finally!) and finding a notebook with a list of names followed by pages and pages of odd hash marks. The last name on the list is Penny, and while Michonne doesn’t know who Penny is, she surmises it’s someone important.

You know she’s about to find the real Penny because she hears TG’s walker daughter in the next room. You just know she’s gonna hack her little head off! But, no such luck! The evil trinity (TG, Merle, and Milton) enter and set about gathering some supplies for the party, I assume. Michonne ducks in the next room to avoid detection and listens as Milton asks TG to postpone the evening’s festivities. Milton wants to save the power for an upcoming experiment. They’ve been using the generators and (one must assume) plenty of fuel all day for the celebration to cool drinks and provide various creature comforts, and Milton wants to conserve. But,  TG denies the request, saying the town needs the entertainment.

After they leave, Michonne escapes and wanders into an area we haven’t seen before that looks like a mini warehouse district. Why this is in Woodbury, I have no idea. It seems out of place, and as Michonne explores, she comes on some captive walkers. Looking pleased, Michonne releases the walkers and steps back, readying her katana.

Hack! Slash! Stomp! Splat!

Michonne takes down the walkers, but, of course, she gets caught by someone with a bucket of walker chow. You don’t see who it is, but I think it was probably Merle coming to “feed” the walkers.

You’re supposed to wonder why TG is keeping walkers, but since we’ve already seen his unhealthy obsession and curious aquarium exhibit, I just chalked it up to one of Milton’s experiments. Or, could they have something to do with the list that Michonne found? I wondered if these walkers were perhaps former Woodbury residents. Hmmm…

I was wrong.

Michonne is taken to TG for some good old fashioned scolding –jr. high. principal style. She takes it up to a point, because TG has HER point (katana). There are some tense moments of conversation, and at one point, Michonne mentions Penny, throwing the name out there to test the waters and to see if TG will reveal anything.

Penny’s obviously a secret, but from whom? Do the other members of the evil trinity even know about her? The way TG reacted has me thinking that they don’t. But, he figures out Michonne is largely fishing and pushes on.

When TG proposes Michonne join the “research team,” Michonne finally makes her move! She whips around, grabs the blade, and holds it to his throat.

(DRAMATIC INTERLUDE)

Research team? Does this have something to do with Mad Milton? Maybe. Milton’s with Merle and several others on the research team when we see them out in the field gathering more walkers from a pit. It’s obvious that they trapped them on purpose, but it’s unclear what they’re going to do with them. We do know, however, that they’re being gathered to replace the ones Michonne disposed of.

When the research team begins to pull out the walkers’ teeth, my husband mentions that the walkers Michonne just put down didn’t have any teeth, either. Huh! I hadn’t noticed that…

(END OF DRAMATIC INTERLUDE)

Michonne presses the katana to TG’s throat, making you wonder why she just doesn’t go ahead and kill him. I counseled her to do so, but she didn’t listen. Do they ever listen? Then, she backs out of the room and goes to gather her gear, intent on leaving Woodbury.

Meanwhile, TG tells Merle to bring Andrea to him. Merle obliges and stupid Andrea breezes in, wide-eyed and ready to believe whatever TG feeds her. He doesn’t go into a ton of detail, but tells Andrea that Michonne just isn’t fitting in. Andrea’s gotta talk to her, gotta get her under control, or she could be asked to leave.

Andrea, who definitely has a crush on TG, tries to reason with Michonne, but Michonne sticks to her guns and convinces Andrea to pack up as well. As they approach the town gate, Merle stops them, confirming Michonne’s complaint that they are not actually free to go. But, after a few moments, Merle opens the gate and invites them to go if they wish.

Michonne takes him up on his offer, and strides out after a terse exchange with Andrea. Andrea balks and stays behind.

Stupid, stupid Andrea.

After night falls, the town’s celebration is all set to commence. The people of Woodbury stream into the same area where Michonne killed the walkers. I had to wonder if TG was planning to kill them all! Oh, sick! There’s kids and everything! Why do I watch this?

But, the people instead sit on bleachers and wait for the entertainment to begin. The area is well-lit and music blares from unseen speakers. TG is with Andrea and guides her to sit on the bleachers. She looks puzzled, but doesn’t really question anything. Stupid Andrea.

Then, walkers are staked in a circle, and stupid Andrea finally begins to realize something is very wrong. Merle and a cohort come out and start to fight in the ring of walkers, and she finally begins to question TG about what is going on. FINALLY.

Merle and the other guy start beating the crap out of each other, and the crowd goes wild while the walkers strain against their bonds, trying to get at the fighting men. Talk about a death match! Kids are hoisted up so they can see; it’s a real family affair.

Andrea tries to leave, but TG stops her, telling her that this was a good way for the people to let off some steam. Besides, it’s really just staged because the walkers don’t have any teeth. Oooooh! So, that’s why the research team was pulling out walker teeth. Gross.

Andrea still wants to leave, but TG makes her stay, and she realizes that perhaps Michonne had been right all along.

Dun, Dun, DUUUUUUUUUN!

Of course Michonne has been right all along! Gosh! I haven’t even read all of the comics, and I knew that! You can just tell by TG’s creepy smile and voice (that reminds me of Liam Neeson) that he’s a bad egg. Plus, we’ve got some pretty good evidence: Exhibit A – Walker Head Aquarium; Exhibit B – Slaughtering Nice Military Men; etc.

Dead walker is dead. Image courtesy of AMC.

“Say the Word” wraps up with a final scene with crazy Rick. He’s finally made his way to the room where Lori died, and looks for any sign of his dead wife. He sees a trail of blood and follows it to a bloated walker, too engorged too move. The creature sits against a wall, and, at first, I thought it was walker Lori because the camera zoomed in on the big belly.

Gosh, I’m glad it wasn’t Lori.

But, apparently, it did EAT Lori, hence the large stomach. Rick figures that out, too, and takes out his rage on the walker, shooting it in the head and stabbing it repeatedly in the stomach.

I thought he was going to try to carve what was left of Lori out of the walker, but that went out the window as Rick stabbed and stabbed.

Finally, spent from his rage/grief fit, Rick drags himself away and sits against an opposite wall to stare at the walker that ate his wife. He starts to hallucinate and hears a baby cry. Strange, but understandable considering he’s basically abandoned his newborn daughter. But, stranger still is want happens next: a nearby telephone begins to ring. The sound snaps Rick out of his reverie and he moves to answer the phone. Makes sense to me! I’d probably answer a ringing phone, too.

The episode goes to black with Rick’s “Hello?” into the receiver.

So, who was on the phone? Was it even real or was Rick still hallucinating? Will “Little Ass Kicker” ever get a real name? Is Andrea the biggest moron ever?

Gah! So many questions!

What did you think of this week’s episode? Hit me up in the comments!

 

((Featured image courtesy of AMC and can be found at http://blogs.amctv.com/photo-galleries/the-walking-dead-season-3-episode-photos/episode-5-michonne.php.))

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