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The Walking Dead Recap/Review: “Prey”

Pssst! Hey, you! Yeah, you. This article contains SPOILERS and lots of them!

The Walking Dead is trying to make me like Andrea. At least, that was my take-away from last night’s episode.

See, this entire season, Andrea has pretty much been a walking (teehee! “Walking!”) disaster, forcing me to hate her for decisions that could only lead to ruin. In her efforts to cling to a society that has clearly been destroyed, Andrea has knowingly (I believe) swallowed lie after lie from The Governor (TG) and turned her back on Michonne, the woman who saved her life and saw her through an undoubtedly perilous winter.

In “Prey,” Andrea finally sees the light and decides to leave Woodbury and TG behind.

The episode opens with a flashback, and I was excited to think that the whole show would be dedicated to what we didn’t see between season two and three. No such luck.

Michonne and Andrea warm themselves by a campfire, while the walker “pets” shamble at the ends of their chains. Andrea asks Michonne about the pets and who they were before they changed. Michonne doesn’t really want to talk about it, but tells Andrea that they weren’t people to begin with; they got what they deserved.

From there, the scene switches to present day and TG, who is readying chains between two poles in what looks like a basement or hidden room. (I assumed we were seeing his preparations for Michonne’s inevitable torturing after Rick hands her over…or at least when TG gets his hands on her.) It was an obvious allusion to the fact that TG, while not a walker, or biter as the people from Woodbury call them, is an inhuman member of the walking dead. He’s a monster.

In Woodbury, Martinez and other TG lackeys are stocking a truck with all manner of guns, ammunition, and heavy artillery. The plot requires Milton and Andrea to observe and Andrea to stupidly question Milton about it, referencing the supposed deal on the table with Rick. Mousy Milton tells her that it’s probably only a precaution (Ha!) and skitters away.

Milton finds TG in the secret torture room, where he observes the one-eyed man laying out an array of medical implements. Milton jumps to the correct conclusion that some torture is planned and tries to dissuade TG. TG pats Milton on the cheek and blows him off.

Pirates like to torture folks. That's just common knowledge, right? Image courtesy of AMC.

Pirates like to torture folks. That’s just common knowledge, right? Image courtesy of AMC.

Milton then experiences a rare burst of balls and goes and finds Andrea, telling her that TG is planning on killing Rick and the rest of the prison group. He leads her to a room that overlooks TG’s torture chamber (complete with scary dental chair and handcuffs), and Andrea is properly aghast. She determines that TG has to die (Oh, really? Shocking!), and while they are discussing it, TG wanders into the torture chamber with more tools of dooooooooooooooom. Andrea draws her gun and readies to shoot TG, but Milton stops her.

What? Why, Milton? GAH! Maybe it’s because Milton remembers who TG used to be. He told Andrea that he knew Phillip (TG’s real name) before he was TG. What were they to each other? Coworkers? Friends? Family? I want Milton to be TG’s brother-in-law. I think that would fit nicely!

They watch as TG records himself whistling, sits down in the dental chair, and listens to the recording with a smile. Creeptastic.

So, Andrea decides she has to leave and go warn Rick and the prison group. Brilliant! On her way out of town, she happens upon Martinez and a couple of TG lackeys who are collecting weapons and ammo from townspeople. It’s for the coming fight, he explains…Not that they want to kill people…They have to be ready for anything, of course!

Riiiiiiiiiight.

Andrea protests but ends up giving up her gun and extra clip. Then, TG stops her and asks her to be present at the meeting with Rick. It’s happening the next day, and he needs her to be there since the two groups distrust each other.

Riiiiiiiiiight.

She smiles and plays along, promising to be there. They part, and she makes a beeline for one of Woodbury’s entry/exit points guarded by none other than Tyreese and Sasha. Andrea tries to get them to leave, saying Martinez needs them, but they don’t buy it, and she comes right out and tells them that she has to leave Woodbury. She tells them that TG isn’t what he seems, and that Woodbury isn’t the place they think it is.

Tyreese and Sasha are confused and don’t think they should let her go, but they end up standing aside as she goes over the wall and jogs away. Later, they meet with Martinez and TG to tell them what happened. TG puts on a nice show of concern and then proceeds to lie to Tyreese and Sasha, telling them that Andrea was crazy. TG says Andrea spent the winter on her own before making her way to Woodbury, leaving Michonne out of the story and making it sound like Andrea went cuckoo while on her own.

Tyreese falls for the story after being assured that Woodbury isn’t a prison camp, and TG tells him that Martinez needs their help with a particular task. Tyreese and Sasha follow Martinez to one of the walls where a truck is waiting to take them and several others on a job. At the wall, they meet up with Allen and his son, who are also going on said job. There’s a tense moment as Allen yells at Tyreese for possibly jeopardizing their stay in Woodbury, and we find out that Allen’s dead wife was saved by Tyreese. Apparently, it’s a sore spot for Allen, because he felt emasculated in front of his family…or something? I mean, it didn’t make a whole lot of sense… “I hate you for saving my wife’s life!” Huh?

Things simmer down, and they all get in the truck and drive to…the biter pit! Remember this place? This is where Woodbury has a wind-powered noise contraption that attracts biters, who then fall into a pit and are used for nefarious purposes…like biter fighting in the arena, punishment, torture, etc.

It’s a nice place.

Tyreese and Sasha are taken aback by the pit and don’t understand why biters would be needful to Woodbury. Martinez is sketchy and says only that they have uses for everything these days. Tyreese surmises that the biters are going to be used in some way during the following day’s meeting with Rick and co. and is understandably uncool with the notion.

Allen and his kid seems fine with it, thank you very much, and tells Tyreese to go along with it. Another spat erupts between the two of them and ends with Tyreese holding Allen over the biter pit. But, he gets a hold of himself and doesn’t drop Allen in. What a shame! You know that guy’s going to be trouble later!

Tyreese tells Martinez that he doesn’t want any part of the biters, and Martinez says that they’ll have to explain themselves to TG. Dun, Dun, DUN!

In Woodbury, after telling Tyreese to help Martinez, TG heads out after Andrea. But before he leaves, he runs into Milton, who confesses to telling Andrea about the ambush plan against Rick and the prison group. TG loses his temper and slams Milton up against a pointy looking fence. He doesn’t kill him, though.

Cut to Andrea, who is running down the road toward the prison. (I wonder how far away it is…) Suddenly, she hears an engine and ducks off the road into the trees. Smart! We don’t see the driver, but it’s the big white truck we’ve seen TG in before, so you know it’s him. There’s a cheap scare, and she kills a handful of walkers before continuing through the woods. What a fine sense of direction she must have! Or maybe she just knows the way that well?

Oh, and about that cheap scare: Why didn’t she hear the walkers right before one dramatically grabbed her through a small grouping of trees? They are undead, and they don’t make noise? In dry, crackly leaves? Seriously? I don’t buy that.

As she’s crossing a field, the truck appears again and chases her into more woods. We see TG squinting after her and are supposed to feel an impending sense of doom, I think. But, honestly, I’m not sure who I was rooting for. Did I want Andrea to escape? I’m not so sure!

She comes to an old factory/warehouse and ducks inside just as the truck pulls up. Night is falling, of course. How about that for timing? Good job, TG, on READING HER FREAKING MIND AND KNOWING EXACTLY WHERE SHE IS. (As you can see, I have an issue with this, too. Did he just assume she was there? Was that the only cover available to her? Bah.)

They play a game of cat and mouse as he stalks around looking for her. He whistles the tune he recorded earlier, and I wondered if that was supposed to mean something. Did anyone else recognize the song? Or was it supposed to be foreshadowing? (More on that later.)

Andrea watches what she hopes to be the end of TG. SPOILER: It's not. Image courtesy of AMC.

Andrea watches what she hopes to be the end of TG. SPOILER: It’s not. Image courtesy of AMC.

Andrea kills some walkers and makes noise that eventually leads TG to her. He backs her up against a door, and she ducks behind it, letting out a mini-horde that goes after him. She dashes up some stairs and escapes the building, and we hear TG yelling and fighting. That’s the end of him! Riiiiiiiiiight.

So, at this point, I was yelling at Andrea to steal his truck. Why didn’t she steal his truck? I’m pretty sure he left the keys in it, because he left the lights on! WHY DIDN’T SHE TAKE THE TRUCK?!

The next time we see Andrea, she’s approaching the prison walls. She made it! Yay! Her relief is obvious as she starts to wave to get the guard on duty’s attention. The guard happens to be Rick, by the way.

BUT, TG JUMPS OUT AND GRABS HER!

First of all, there’s no way he could have made it out alive. Secondly, if he was following her, how could she not have heard him? Especially if he DROVE!

Rick, who is scanning milling walkers, thinks he sees something at the treeline (where Andrea is being held down by TG), but dismisses it when he goes back for another look through his gun scope. Aw, so close!

Soon, TG’s big white truck is approaching Woodbury again. TG pulls to a stop to speak to Martinez, who he tells Andrea is still on the loose. Martinez, who has no reason to believe otherwise, accepts the story and tells TG about Tyreese’s refusal to help out at the pits…and SOMEONE BURNED THE BITERS!

During the night, while TG was chasing Andrea around, someone in a black SUV went to the pit and poured gas all over the biters and lit them ablaze. The same person also set a horse trailer full of biters on fire. Was it Tyreese? Was it someone else?

TG assumes it was Tyreese. Uh-oh!

Tyreese, Sasha, Allen, and Ben (Allen’s son) gather to see TG and talk about the biter pit. It kinda had a waiting-to-see-the-principal feel to it. TG tells Tyreese that the biters are a scare tactic, and that they would never be used against people. Riiiiiiiiiight. Tyreese seems okay with the explanation, and apologizes for making trouble.

TG accepts his apology and asks where Tyreese got the gas (to burn the biters, of course.). But, TG doesn’t say anything about the fire at the pit, and Tyreese expresses his confusion. He doesn’t know what TG is talking about.

So, Tyreese didn’t do it? Hmmm. Who did, then? TG meets Milton on the street, and Milton asks if TG has found the person who set the fire. TG’s one eye narrows, he declares that he just has.

It was Milton! Go Milton!

“Prey” ended with Andrea in the dental chair of torture. They tried to make it extra dramatic, but you knew it was coming. Seriously. The camera winds down a dark hall, around a corner, and through a door…and there she is! Tied down with duct tape across her mouth!

SHOCKING!

Not really.

So, what about that song TG whistled and recorded. Was that for Andrea? Was she the “Prey” all along? Was that why he was whistling it in the abandoned factory/warehouse? Was the dental chair and torture items for her? Or was he prepping for Michonne, and Andrea just fell into a terrible situation?

Like I wrote earlier, I feel like this whole episode was tailored to make me like Andrea. She finally tried to do the right thing, but TG thwarted her. Did she fail because she struck out on her own? After all, one of the bigger themes of this season, as we’ve talked about before, is you can’t survive on your own. Andrea tried to get Milton to come with her, but he wouldn’t, saying he belonged in Woodbury. Would Andrea have made it if Milton went with her?

I don’t really think so. I mean, it’s Milton, and he’s pretty much worthless in a fight. But, her journey alone was unsuccessful, which emphasizes the theme of group survival.

If they were trying to get me to like Andrea, it didn’t really work. As TG stalked her, I found myself not so much rooting for her as interested in how the plot would move forward without her should she get caught. I assumed TG would kill her, and, really, he should have. But, she’s obviously a plot device, and she lived.

Overall, I thought “Prey” was one of the weaker episodes this season. While, we got plenty of cheap scares and forced dramatic tension, the writing was full of holes (Why didn’t she take the truck? Why didn’t Tyreese question TG further about the walker pit –TG said they didn’t share tactics with people they didn’t know, but they take people they don’t know to the pits in the first place?– How did TG get Andrea into his torture room unnoticed? Oh, the QUESTIONS!)

What did you think? Hit me up in the comments!

 

[[Featured image courtesy of AMC and found at http://blogs.amctv.com/photo-galleries/the-walking-dead-season-3-episode-photos/episode-14-andrea.php.]]

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The Walking Dead Recap/Review: “Home”

Spoilers, yo, and lots of them! You’ve been warned. (It does say “recap” in the title…just saying.)

I was seriously JUST starting to like Axel. Dang it! Now, all of the prisoners are dead, and the prison truly belongs to Rick’s group. (Crazy people running the asylum, anyone?) But, is it even still Rick’s group? Or is Glenn trying on some britches that are a couple of sizes too big? That’s the thing about wearing big pants; you’re going to trip and fall on your face.

“Home” opens with Rick seeing Lori in the prison yard. Still dressed in white, Lori’s back is to him as she stands before the graves. He runs to the graves only to have her vanish and reappear beyond the prison fence. Not recognizing the symbolism of running through the gates away from safety and into the wilderness of crazy, Rick dashes by Michonne and meets Lori on a footbridge. (Michonne appears to be living in an overturned bus in the prison yard. Or, if she’s not living in it, she at least crawled out of said bus. Rick did say they would be kicking her out of the prison as soon as she was back on her feet. Is this as far as they’ve kicked her?) Michonne wisely closes the prison gates behind him.

Lori and Rick share a moment as she gently strokes his face. Aww! Poor Rick looks miserable and elated at the same time.

But, Michonne looks on in disbelief as Rick cuddles into open air, because, obviously, Lori is not there!

In Woodbury, The Governor (TG) pays Andrea a visit, and I was glad to see that she wasn’t shacking up with him. Although, it was never clear that she ever was, I guess. They just shagged, and she left. How elegant!

He compliments her inspiring speech to the townsfolk following the break-in and biter attack and encourages her to step into a leadership role. See, TG thinks he hasn’t lived up to the mantle of power and wants Andrea to take over.

Right…

He loves me? He loves me not? Image courtesy of AMC and found at http://blogs.amctv.com/photo-galleries/the-walking-dead-season-3-episode-photos/episode-10-andrea.php.

He loves me? He loves me not? Image courtesy of AMC and found at http://blogs.amctv.com/photo-galleries/the-walking-dead-season-3-episode-photos/episode-10-andrea.php.

Blah, blah, blah…you know he’s lying through his teeth when he says he’s going to take some time to sort things out. And you REALLY know he’s lying when he assures Andrea that there will be no retaliation against Rick’s group at the prison. But, she buys it, because she’s Andrea.

TG leaves her and goes to see Milton. The man is visibly scared by TG, but he also wants to prove his loyalty to the one-eyed pirate. TG has a strange hold over the people of Woodbury; it’s interesting to see the desperate need for leadership and the willingness to latch onto someone in power. You see it in Milton, and you can see it in Andrea, too, to a certain extent. The world has gone mad, and people need some semblance of order, even if that order is through brutality. They need a “home” (See how I worked the title in there? I’m so smooth.).

TG verifies Milton’s allegiance and then tells him to keep an eye on Andrea. He’s not so sure she’ll side with Woodbury, after all. It’s rather a different story from the crap he just sold Andrea, but that’s our TG, and that’s why we love to hate him!

When Andrea is looking for TG and several other of Woodbury’s known fighters (all the scary dudes who carry the big guns and do TG’s bidding) later that day, a woman on the wall, Karen, won’t give her a straight answer. Andrea sees Milton and asks him where TG is, and Milton is also coy, saying TG is on a supply run. Andrea doesn’t buy it, and Milton doesn’t appear to really care that she doesn’t buy it.

Do you think Milton knew where TG had gone? I mean, I knew! Seriously, how could you not know? But, TG did tell Andrea that there would be no retaliation against the prison, so she was left to wonder.

But, she had to know, right? Come on! The illusion of safety and normalcy at Woodbury was shattered, and while she’s desperately grasping at the loose strings, Andrea has to know there’s something truly rotten in Denmark.

We got to check in on Daryl and Merle a couple of times during this episode before they were drawn back into one of the sure-to-soon-be-feuding camps (Woodbury or the prison? Which one will they end up with? You’ll have to keep reading to find out!). The brothers were struggling to adjust to one another while fighting for dominance (on Merle’s part) and respect (Daryl’s goal). Daryl’s time with Rick’s group had changed him, and the knowledge galled Merle. So, the elder Dixon picked at Daryl, maligning everything from his hunting skills and sense of direction to his loyalties.

Daryl readies to save folks in need. Image courtesy of AMC and found at http://blogs.amctv.com/photo-galleries/the-walking-dead-season-3-episode-photos/episode-10-daryl.php.

Daryl readies to save folks in need. Image courtesy of AMC and found at http://blogs.amctv.com/photo-galleries/the-walking-dead-season-3-episode-photos/episode-10-daryl.php.

When Daryl and Merle come upon a Hispanic family being attacked by walkers, Daryl immediately wants to help. He hears a baby and must think of little Judith back at the prison. Merle, on the other hand, doesn’t care and is content to let the family get eaten. But, Daryl comes to the family’s rescue, shooting and knifing walkers. Lo and behold, Merle wanders in behind him and kills a few, too.

I loved Merle’s face during this scene! It was a mix of consternation and awe as he watched his little brother handily dispatch the walkers and save the family.

When it was all over, Merle decides they are owed payment for their services and starts to rob the family, tossing out a racial slur in lovely Merle fashion. Daryl tells him to stop, but Merle doesn’t listen. It’s not until Daryl threatens his brother with his crossbow that Merle backs down. The family leaves, and the Dixon brothers realize just how different they’ve become.

In the woods, they get into a small scuffle, and Merle rips Daryl’s shirt, revealing old scars left by their father. Merle is shocked and tells Daryl he had no idea about the abuse. But, Daryl really doesn’t believe him and decides enough is enough. It’s time to go…(Ready for it?)…home. He sets off for the prison, leaving Merle, who swears he can’t follow, not after his history with the group.

As Daryl strikes out, he leaves his brother with “I might be the one who’s walking away, but you’re the one who’s leaving…again.” (Or something close to that.) His voice cracks, and you can tell he’s choking back tears.

As Daryl disappears into the woods, Merle is torn between a new found protective streak for his little brother and saving his own skin. As he waffles, the indecision is plain on his face as he weighs the consequences of the only decision he can make before following Daryl.

It’s a great stretch of acting from two great actors!

At the prison, Glenn’s got his big-boy pants on and is assessing the perceived vulnerabilities of the compound. He’s going over with Carl and the others how Tyreese’s group and walkers got into the depths of the prison, known as the tombs. But, Hershel thinks the possible attack/retaliation by TG is more pressing and says they should leave the prison. Glenn adamantly disagrees and then comes up with the idea that he and Michonne should sneak back into Woodbury and just kill TG. Not too bad of an idea, really, but no one but Michonne goes for it.

So, Glenn settles for a foray into the tombs to clean out walkers. Later, when he returns (looks like Carl went with him), he wants to take a vehicle to look at the back of the prison to see how bad it really is (It’s pretty bad, remember?), but no one really wants to go with him. Glenn declares that he’ll take Maggie with him, but Hershel isn’t so sure she’s willing, either, and Glenn goes to find her. She’s lying down in her cell and doesn’t react too kindly to Glenn, something that really puzzles the man.

And why is she acting this way to Glenn? Isn’t he trying to protect her, to avenge (in a roundabout way) the wrong done to her? Not really. Actually, he’s just trying to make himself feel better. See, he really didn’t even know what TG had done to her. In his mind, the worst thing was that Maggie had been raped. She wasn’t, and she told him that. But, instead of treating her like an equal who had done the necessary to save Glenn’s hand (TG threatened to cut it off if she didn’t cooperate.), Glenn put himself in the role of her protector and insinuated his own feelings of powerlessness over her feelings. By doing so, he made the situation about him. It turned into something that HE had to fix, that HE had to avenge, because she was HIS woman. Now, he’s on a quest to prove himself capable of running things without Rick and Daryl. He’s obsessed, and Maggie is disgusted.

After Maggie rebuffs him, Glenn decides to go look at the perimeter by himself. He meets Hershel in the prison yard, and the older man again says they should leave the prison, but Glenn isn’t having it. He pitches another hissy fit, stomping his feet and holding his breath (not really). Since Daryl’s gone and Rick is “wandering Crazytown (He actually said “Crazytown!” Someone was reading my recaps and wrote that into the script, right? HA!),” Glenn is the next in charge, dang it! Or so Glenn thinks. He hops into a giant truck and roars away.

Hershel hobbles down to the outer fence to look for Rick. The former lawman comes out of the woods looking paranoid and rather deranged but sound in body, overall. Hershel tells Rick about Glenn and asks him to come back to the prison. But, Rick isn’t ready, yet. He confesses his recent delusions, but tells Hershel he knows they aren’t real. At the same time, though, he has to believe there’s an explanation.

Yeah, you’re nuts!

But, Hershel is nicer than me and gently prods Rick to come back to reality. This was a great scene visually with Hershel on the inside (reality) of the prison yard and Rick on the outside (Crazytown), clutching at the chain link as he is clutching and searching for sanity. Nicely done.

Closer to the prison, Carol and Axel are getting ready for what they assume will be an assault from TG. The pair are setting up cover and chatting, flirting a bit and getting to know one another. Beth and Carl are also outside wandering about, and Michonne is down by her bus.

I had to cheer for Axel. I mean, he thought Carol was a lesbian, but once he found out differently, he’s quite the charmer!

But, this is The Walking Dead, and AMC doesn’t want me to forget this world is terrible.

A gunshot rings out, and Axel is shot in the head! TG shot him, and we see the self-satisfied smirk below his eye patch as he lowers the gun. TG and some goons are outside of the prison fence shooting up the place, and Rick and Hershel dive for cover as they come under fire, too.

Umm, can someone tell me how a guy got into the prison tower? Yeah, because a TG dude is up in the tower shooting at the group, too! I have no idea how that could have happened.

Carol is crouched behind Axel’s dead body, remarkably unscathed even though Axel is still being shot…a lot. (Not one of those bullets would go through Axel’s body? Huh. I have my doubts.) Carl and Beth take cover, and Carl whips out his gun to return fire because, yes, Carl’s awesome, now. Maggie runs out of the prison with extra guns, and they are able to cover Carol as she runs away from poor dead Axel.

Everybody’s shooting and no one’s hitting anything! But, TG is delighted and gleefully sprays bullets into the air several times. It’s clear that they are not only trying to kill the prison group with bullets, but they are also making as much noise as possible to draw walkers.

But that’s not enough for TG. A delivery truck races up the road and plows through the prison gates to release walkers into the yard. A figure jumps out and runs back to TG’s truck. The person was wearing all black with a helmet,  but it looked like a woman to me. My money’s on Karen; she was totally shifty with Andrea. (Had TG and his group already left when Andrea spoke to Karen? Were they just getting ready to leave? I dunno, but Karen definitely knew something! And I’m not going to be surprised if we find out she was involved in the prison raid.)

The walkers are released right around where Hershel is hiding in the grass. The old coot’s got a gun, but he won’t last long, that’s for certain.

Then, someone finally nails the douche in the prison tower, and TG decides it’s time to go. He and his minions jump in their truck and speed away, passing Glenn on the way out. (It’s about time, Glenn! Where the heck have you been? It took you THAT long to drive around the prison?! Pfft!)

By this time, more walkers are wandering into the area surrounding the prison, drawn by all the noise. Rick, who has used all his bullets, is set upon by a pair of hungry walkers! Oh, no! But, at the last minute, an arrow erupts from the walker’s forehead, and Daryl rides in on a white horse! Okay, there’s no horse, but he and Merle wade into things and save Rick’s butt.

Glenn picks up Maggie in the truck, and they rescue Hershel, while Michonne slices her way through too many walkers (Seriously, this woman is a machine!).

The tragedy seems to bring clarity to Rick as he surveys the damage. A hard, determined look comes in his eyes, and you know this means war!

Dun, Dun, DUN! (Dramatic flourish)

Jeez, what a mess! Axel’s dead (RIP. We hardly knew ye!), Merle’s at the prison, and Rick’s teetering precariously on the edge of insanity. His high-wire act isn’t going to be helped by Glenn’s desire for vengeance. Heck, no! Rick’s going to be out for blood, now. TG has defiled his HOME.

Meanwhile, TG is trying to keep Andrea under his thumb and convince her he’s not a monster, while wiping out her long-lost friends at the prison! At least this time, she’s suspicious of him. (Gosh, she’s thick.)

But, the thing about Andrea is that I know she wants to be thick. She’s not stupid, she just willingly deluded. She wants to believe there’s still a nice little town like Woodbury in the world. But, she’s finally starting to come out of it, and that spells trouble for her stay in TG’s good graces.

What did you think about “Home?” Hit me up in the comments!

 

[Featured image courtesy of AMC and found at http://blogs.amctv.com/photo-galleries/the-walking-dead-season-3-episode-photos/episode-10-governor-2.php.]

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The Walking Dead Recap/Review: “Made to Suffer”

It’s December! You know what that means…SPOILERS! (What did you think I was going to say?)

The Governor (TG) is now a pirate! ARGH, me matey! I just need him to start carrying around a sword, and I’ll be all set. Savvy? Plus, he gets extra points in my book because this is the first time I’ve actually liked him. Sure, the character is amazing and a great addition to the show, but last night was the first time I’ve really empathized with TG.

“Made to Suffer” was the mid-season finale on The Walking Dead, and I must confess to a more than average level of gasping from my wallowed-out corner of the couch!  Plot lines actually intersected, and Tyreese was finally introduced! Be still my heart!

The episode opened with Tyreese running through the forest, trying to track down the screams heard in the distance. Sasha, his sister, almost brains him with a shovel (she thought he was a walker, I guess. Also, lemme just insert right now that it wasn’t clear Sasha was his sister. She could have been a girlfriend/wife/companion of some kind. However, thanks to my keen understanding and mysterious ways, you now know for certain! You can thank me later.), before joining him. They come upon three people (a woman, a man and a teen-aged boy) surrounded by walkers, and it’s implied that they all know each other and are traveling together. (So, how did they get separated, and why in the unholy heck is the woman screaming her head off?)

They fight off the walkers and escape, but not before Donna (the screamer) gets bitten on the arm by a walker. CHOMP! They stumble out of the forest to discover a large blown-out building. Sasha wants to leave Donna behind, but the group decides to bring her along as the enter the back of THE PRISON! That’s right, there’s a HUGE hole in the back of the prison!

WHAT THE WHAT?!

In Woodbury, TG is still being creepy. (Shocking, I know) Andrea, preparing for the day by fixing her fluffy hair in a mirror, picks up TG’s family picture (FORESHADOWING). When she hears TG coming up behind her, she sets it back down and they cuddle. TG observes that Andrea is really starting to like Woodbury, and she practically purrs before tripping off to help Milton cremate Mr. Coleman.

TG stares creepily into the mirror, his eyes going a bit glassy before he turns to visit dead Penny. Yeah, that’s right. He keeps her right off the room with the walker head aquariums. And where is the walker head aquarium room? Oh, right off his main rooms. Huh. Seems terribly conspicuous  don’t you think? Can anyone tell me why Andrea hasn’t stumbled upon Penny, yet? Last time Michonne was in TG’s rooms, she definitely heard the dead girl. So, why hasn’t Andrea?

Because she’s stupid.

Quality father/daughter bonding time. Image courtesy of AMC.

TG settles down into a chair, turns on some music, and opens Penny’s cage door. Snarling, Penny rushes out but is caught short by a chain around her neck. She has a straight jacket on, and her head is covered with a bag. TG tries to spend some quality bonding time with her, but grows frustrated when she won’t look at him and pushes her back into the cage.

I mean, to be fair, she’s DEAD. Plus, TG has a bowl of disgusting flesh bits sitting beside him. Dinner, I suppose.

Elsewhere, somewhere in the bowels of Woodbury (near the left part of colon), Maggie and Glenn sit huddled against the wall. After making sure Maggie wasn’t raped by TG, Glenn seems to get a renewed sense of mad survival skills. He tears off the arm of the walker (the one Merle sicced on him and he re-killed) and rips out shards of bone, arming himself and Maggie.

Outside of Woodbury’s main wall and gate, Rick, Daryl, Oscar, and Michonne skulk about, hiding behind a conveniently placed car and LOTS of dense vegetation. (Don’t you think TG would have had that area cleared? Seems like he would want a completely clear view of the approach to Woodbury…)

Then, miraculously, Michonne leads them around to a door that opens in the back of a store on Woodbury’s main drag. (So, there’s easy, unguarded access to Woodbury? You don’t have to go through the gates? You can just walk to the side, open a door, and walk in without so much as a “Howdy do?” That’s…ridiculous.) But, someone has seen them inside the building! A man enters the front door, telling them they’d better leave. The man thinks they’re just some townsfolk in a building they’re not supposed to be in. They take him down…kinda nicely. They didn’t kill him, so that’s something, right? He’s gagged, knocked out, and left in the building.

In the confusion, Michonne slips away, intent on her own personal mission. She makes her way to TG rooms and enters, settling in a chair in front of the door, her katana on her lap.

IT’S GONNA GO DOWN, SON!

Back at the prison, Axel is macking on Beth. It’s the end of the world…why not? Gross. Carl is busy trying to shoot flames from his eyes at Axel when Carol decides to talk to the former inmate, pulling him aside and telling him to stay away from Beth. But, there are no other women, Axel whines! Maggie’s with Glenn and Carols a lesbian, the man complains.

Huh? Carol’s a lesbian? Um, no. Despite her short hair (which led to Axel’s misconception, apparently), Carol assures him that she is not playing for the other team. But, before Axel can turn his attention to her, Carol shuts him down and walks away. (Because she totally wants Daryl. Search your feelings. You know it to be true.)

Rick, Daryl, and Oscar locate Maggie and Glenn just moments after the hostages attack their captors. Maggie stabs a minion in the throat, and Glenn gets punched (poor Glenn). Merle’s there, and I was hoping that this would be the moment when Daryl discovers his brother’s still alive! Alas! It’s not to be. A smoke bomb/flash grenade/something that makes a lot of smoke is thrown, and Maggie and Glenn are rescued! Huzzah!

They escape under the cover of smoke and duck into a building. Glenn tells Daryl about Merle, and the younger Dixon is understandably shocked and, I think, a little bit excited. He wants to go talk to Merle, but Rick steps in, demanding Daryl to stay and help them escape Woodbury. Daryl agrees (but you know SOMETHING is going to happen! It always does!).

Would Daryl side with Merle? TG thinks it’s a possibility. In fact, before Maggie and Glenn escaped, TG  proposed the idea to Merle as they discussed attacking the prison. Daryl could be their “inside man,” TG said. Merle looked a little skeptical, but acted like he’d go along with the plan. Who knows how something like that would go down, though? After all  Merle isn’t always fully truthful with TG…

Rick, Daryl, Oscar, Maggie, and Glenn decide to make a run for the wall to escape and start flinging smoke bombs and laying down cover fire. In the cover of a nearby building, TG quickly organizes his minions to find the intruders and shoot back. Andrea wants to help, but TG won’t let her, telling her to check on Woodbury residents instead. Andrea is miffed, but agrees, leaving the building to carry out his orders.

But, OF COURSE, Andrea finds herself on the street when gun fire erupts afresh. She shoots back, and later tells TG she saw someone in prison coveralls. She, OF COURSE, doesn’t see anyone that she recognizes. TG tells her that the “terrorists” must be from the prison.

In TG’s rooms, Michonne waits. Suddenly, she hears something coming from the next room (you know, the oh-so-secret-that-Andrea-has-never-noticed-it-before room?). She investigates, discovers the walker head aquariums and Penny’s cage. Her disgust is plain, and we saw a new layer when she saw Penny’s small figure walk out of the cage. Michonne’s worst fears of TG were realized! He was mistreating an unfortunate child!

Michonne unchains Penny and removes her hood.

Michonne discovers that Penny takes after her father. Image courtesy of AMC.

SHE’S A WALKER! Michonne hurriedly pulls back and makes to re-kill Penny, but she’s stopped when TG enters! He’s pointing a gun at her and pleading with her not to hurt his daughter. In an effort to convince her, TG puts down his gun and removes his belt and holster. (This was the first time I ever felt bad for TG. She’s dead, but Penny’s his daughter!)

Then, something changes in Michonne’s eyes. They go from shock to disgust to heartless resolve. Michonne runs the length of her blade through Penny’s head, dropping the little body. TG loses it and charges Michonne. They ferociously battle, and he smashes her head into the aquariums. Glass goes everywhere! Michonne gets in a few good hits, but overall, TG overpowers her. It’s not looking good!

Struggling, Michonne grabs a shard of glass and rams it into TG’s right eye! OHMYGOSH! She’s about to finish him off when Andrea comes to his rescue! OHMYGOSH!

The two women lock gazes in a stand-off, Michonne ready with her katana and Andrea with a gun pointed at her former friend. Several beats pass, and Michonne realizes she’s lost…not just the fight to kill TG, but she’s lost her friend. I believe Michonne returned to Woodbury not to help save Maggie and Glenn, but to save Andrea from the monster she knew TG to be. Now, Michonne realizes that she’s the monster in Andrea’s eyes.

Her katana’s point drops, and Michonne turns and leaves. Andrea lets her go before rushing to help TG. But, he won’t be comforted; he’s holding the lifeless body of his daughter, crying around the shard of glass sticking out of his eye.

Super gross! (And sad! I will admit that I felt bad for TG at this point.)

Back on the street, Oscar, Maggie, and Glenn make for the wall and begin to climb over, with Rick and Daryl providing cover. The street is a mess of haze and smoke, but no one gets shot. Except Oscar. (He had to, right? The Walking Dead can’t have more than one black guy on there at a time, right? CAN SOMEONE EXPLAIN THAT? T-Dog died and was replaced with Oscar. Now, Oscar is dead, and he’ll be replaced with Tyreese? Come on, AMC! Really? Ugh.) Maggie pauses long enough to shoot Oscar in the head to prevent his change before scurrying over the wall.

Rick takes a quick side trip back to Crazytown and sees Shane walking out of the mist shooting at him. He pauses AND DOESN’T GET SHOT. (No one can hit this guy? Really?) After he gathers his wits, Rick shoots the approaching Shane and rushes over to look at the body.

It’s not Shane, of course. What is this? Resurgent guilt? Come on, man! Pull yourself together!

Back at the prison, Carl hears screams coming from the scary depths. Walkers don’t scream, so he sets off to check it out. He soon finds Tyreese’s group being attacked by walkers and intervenes, leading them back to the cleared cell block. When they get to the common room, we see Donna has died. Carl steps up, offering to shoot her, but Tyreese stops him, saying they take care of their own. (How nice of Carl!)

Also, Carl isn’t the stupid kid that everyone has hated for the past two seasons, anymore. He leaves Tyreese’s group in the common room, locking them out of the main cell block. Sasha flips out, demanding to be let out, but Tyreese sees it differently, telling her that they’re safe for the first time in a long time.

In Woodbury’s infirmary, TG gets his head wrapped in gauze after an unnecessary gross-out, up-close shot of his nasty eye. He’s now a pirate! Arrrr!

Andrea, tactful after the re-death of Penny (snort!), questions TG about the walker head aquariums. He feeds her a line about needing to look at them to desensitize himself and to steel himself for the new world. She buys it, OF COURSE. Then, Milton comes in to check on TG followed by Merle.

HOLD ON! Didn’t Merle tell TG that Michonne was dead? Uh-oh, Merle! UH-OH! But, TG keeps his cards close to his chest and tells them he was attacked, not going into any detail. There is some SERIOUS stink-eye going on, though.

Watch your back, Merle!

Rick finally scampers over the wall to regroup after seeing the Shane ghost. As they wait for Daryl, Michonne appears, dazed and bloody from her fight with TG and stand-off with Andrea. Rick, suspicious of her disappearance and sudden reappearance, wants to kill her, but Michonne convinces him that he needs her help getting the group (Maggie, Glenn, and Daryl –when he shows up) to safety. There’s a desperation in her eyes, and it made me realize she was looking for a new human connection. Michonne had always played the loner card, but she wasn’t really alone. Up until now, she still had Andrea. Andrea was her family in a way, but Andrea just rejected her, and Michonne is reeling.

The townsfolk gather in the walker fighting arena to discuss what had just happened. TG is not his usual optimistic self, telling the people that they had been attacked by terrorists. It’s very effective; TG standing there with his gauze eye patch, looking for a scape goat…

Scape goat, you say?

TG points out Merle, saying he let the terrorists into Woodbury! (Told you, Merle!) TG whips the townspeople into a frenzy, and they begin to demand Merle’s death. Then, TG has several minions bring out a hooded figure. IT’S DARYL!

TG taunts Merle, telling him he gets to see his brother again, after all…BEFORE THEY DIE! (Now, them Dixon boys…they was in a heap o’ trouble!)

And Andrea? What does she do? Well, she sits in the stands, starring. Go, Andrea. You think she might suspect something is amiss, now? She knows Daryl! Will she just accept some tripe TG feeds her?

The Walking Dead’s mid-season break lasts until February, dang it! So, here’s where we’re at:

At the prison, Hershel, Beth, Carl, Axel, Carol, and baby Judith seem safe at the moment…kinda. Tyreese and his group are locked just outside of the cell block in the common room, also safe-ish.

Outside Woodbury, Rick, Michonne, Maggie, and Glenn are waiting for Daryl to show up. However, he’s not going to since he obviously struck out on his own to find Merle. Unfortunately, Daryl was captured, and now, TG plans to kill the Dixon brothers! Judging from the preview for the next show, I’d say Rick and co. will attempt to rescue Daryl. But, what of Merle? Will Daryl insist he come, too?

What did you think of the mid-season finale? Sound off in the comments!

 

((Featured image courtesy of AMC and found at http://blogs.amctv.com/photo-galleries/the-walking-dead-season-3-episode-photos/episode-8-michonne-andrea.php.))

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The Walking Dead Recap/Review: “When The Dead Come Knocking”

The new fake James Bond movie has a great Bond Girl. Did you hear about her name? It’s SPOILERS Galore.

Little Ass-Kicker got a real name this week! I’m okay with the fact that a newborn now sounds like at 54 year old woman. Really, I am. Judith will fit right in, I’m sure, pulling her weight as soon as she’s able to lift some kind of pointy object. (How cute would a baby katana be? Squeee!)

“When The Dead Come Knocking” was an “in-between” episode. Not a whole lot happened plot-wise, but it served to set up the mid-season finale, positioning main characters in various dramatic story arcs. You will no doubt hear my angry yells next week when the show comes to a close, and everything is up in the air. I’ve already singled out a couch pillow to scream in so I don’t wake up my kids.

I’m such a good mother.

The episode starts with Merle beating the crap out of Glenn in a basement/cellar somewhere in Woodbury. Merle’s got that knife/stump cover on his right hand, and as I was watching him punch Glenn, my mind wandered. (This show paid special attention to gory details this week, and I had to look away more than once, so I had the time. It was definitely more blood and guts than normal, and I’m chalking it up to the lack of actual story. Sure, some stuff happened, but it seemed like they didn’t have quite enough to fill the hour.) Was Merle left-handed to begin with? He didn’t seem to have any trouble pounding Glenn with his left hand. Huh.

Merle wants to know where Daryl, Rick, and the others are. Glenn is duct taped to a chair, unable to fight back, of course, but he’s manfully keeping his trap shut about important details. Finally, goaded into answering, Glenn tells Merle that his people will come looking for him, and he mentions Daryl, Rick, and…Andrea. Merle gets a huge, nasty smile on his face because he knows Andrea’s in Woodbury, dancing to The Governor’s (TG) tune. Glenn realizes that he’s stepped in it, and the beating continues.

Maggie is in the next room, and she can clearly hear what’s going on. She looks terrified, and you can tell things are not going to end well.

Help me, Obi-Wan-Rick! You’re my only hope! Image courtesy of AMC.

Back at the prison, Rick and Michonne are still giving each other the disbelieving stink eye. She’s on the outside of the prison fences, camouflaged with walker guts. But, they’re old walker guts and are apparently losing their potency, because the walker next to her suddenly turns and sniffs at her. Deciding she’d be tasty, he lurches forward. Michonne backs away, drawing her sword, but other walkers catch on and start to surround her. After dispatching several, Michonne falls to the ground, weakened by her gunshot wound (on her thigh. Thanks, Merle.)! Then, she passes out!

Oh, no!

But, Rick and co. can’t leave her to be eaten. Carl shoots walkers that are about to rip into Michonne, and Rick comes out to clear off more before scooping up the wounded woman and taking her back to the prison. Carl grabs the shopping basket of baby formula and Michonne’s things.

Michonne comes to in the prison common room, just outside the group’s cell block home. Rick asks for her name, but she stays silent. He tells her that they’ll see to her wound, give her provisions, and send her on her way…after she answers some questions. Michonne, who has the look of a trapped wild animal about her eyes, thinks she’s traded one prison (Woodbury) for another. (I came to this conclusion after they shot her –with the camera, silly!– through the prison bars.)

Daryl draws Rick away with news, and they go back into the cell block, leaving Michonne.

It’s Carol! It’s a happy reunion that turns bittersweet when Carol sees the baby and realizes Lori is dead. Tears!

Then, back to Michonne. Rick demands to know how Michonne found them, and I was sure she’d tell them about Andrea. But, she doesn’t, instead telling them about Glenn and Maggie’s capture and how she overhead them saying the prison was a straight shot. She tells them that the kidnapped pair are most likely in Woodbury, and the men make an easy decision for a rescue. Rick, Daryl, Oscar, and Michonne (Hershel sewed up her thigh.) set out.

Before they leave, however, Rick becomes a dad again, talking to Carl away from the others and comforting him about Lori’s death. Yay, Rick! FINALLY. Of course, Carl will still feel terrible that he had to shoot Lori to prevent her turning, but I’m sure his dad’s acknowledgement of what happened will make it easier.

They also decide on the name Judith for the baby. Carl’s third grade teacher? Huh.

They leave the prison in the hands of the weakest among them: Hershel, Beth, Carl, Axel, and Carol. Judith, too, but she totally doesn’t count. I’m not saying that Carol and Carl couldn’t hold their own…for a while, but still…Yeah. I’m saying they couldn’t hold their own for long.

Parking about a mile away from Woodbury, Michonne leads Oscar, Rick, and Daryl into the woods, so they can sneak up to the town. Rick, getting all his good guy/good dad stuff out of the way, thanks Daryl for stepping up while he went a little nuts and cleaned out a cell block of walkers (Remember Crazytown?). They share a comradely head nod. Very manly.

All of a sudden, walkers are everywhere! Rick decrees no guns, and they start hacking and retreating, trying to find some place to hide. They come upon a conveniently placed cabin and duck inside to find a crazy man huddled under a blanket. The crazy guy starts making a lot of noise, agitating the walkers who are already pawing at the front door and yelling that he’s going to call the cops.

Perfect! Rick says that he’s a cop and offers to show his badge. When did he start carrying his badge again? PSYCH! Rick grabs crazy guy’s gun, and crazy guy goes for the door. But before he can open the door to let in the mini-horde on the other side, Michonne kills him with her katana. STAB!

But, how to get the group away safely? Simple! See, there’s a convenient back door, so all they have to do is throw crazy guy out the front door and escape out the back. He hasn’t turned, yet, so they chuck him out and dash away. (BTW, why are there varying turning rates? I smell a plot device…)

In Woodbury, Andrea gets a job (in addition to boinking TG). TG wants her to hang out with Milton in his research lab, where a Mr. Coleman is dying. We’re supposed to think it’s from old age, and, sure enough, the guy looks old, but I’m suspicious of what Milton is ladling into Mr. Coleman’s mouth. Suspicious, I say!

Milton is trying to find a way to control walkers. Mr. Coleman actually volunteered, because he knew he was dying. So, Milton runs him through a series of memory exercises starting with auditory cues (a bell and a song). He also shows him pictures of family.

When Mr. Coleman finally dies, he’s strapped down in preparation for his turn. Andrea is skeptical FOR ONCE, but stays close to assist should something go awry.

When they’re sure Mr. Coleman has turned, Milton starts the memory exersises and is convinced it’s working on the dead guy. However, the restraints are obviously hampering Mr. Coleman’s participation, so Milton lets one of his arms go against Andrea’s warning. Sure enough, Mr. Coleman tries to eat Milton’s face. Luckily, Andrea is on her game and swiftly stabs the old guy in the head, ending the day’s research.

((UPDATE: I’m almost ashamed to say that there was a part of the show that I missed! I have no idea how it happened, and I’m going to blame it on a combination of my DVR and my son’s unwillingness to go to bed on time. Suffice it to say, there was a scene with TG and Maggie that I didn’t see. Here’s a description from AMC:

The Governor decides to question Maggie himself.

The Governor cuts Maggie’s bonds and offers to return her to her group. When she gives him the silent treatment, he orders her to remove her shirt and bra. He unbuckles his belt, sidles close, shoves her head against the table and leaves.

Now, back to my recap!))

Merle doesn’t play nice! Image courtesy of AMC.

Meanwhile, Glenn is still being beaten to a pulp. He remains resolute in his silence, however, and Merle seems to give up. Not that that will save Glenn, though! Merle brings in a walker and turns it loose! Glenn is still duct-taped to the chair, but he manages to get away, kicking the walker back and stumbling around, pushing stuff over and in front of the walker. He ends up breaking apart the chair and stabbing the walker at the last minute. The DRAMA!

Merle comes back with a minion, TG, and…Maggie! She’s still shirtless, braless, and covering herself but doesn’t appear to have been brutalized. I assume they left her in this state to demoralize and humiliate her. But, it’s clear she still hasn’t given up anything when TG again asks where their group is, holding a gun to Maggie’s head. Glenn hesitates and TG shifts his aim, crossing to hold the gun to Glenn’s head.

Maggie breaks, telling them about the prison and how many are in their group. TG allows her to run to Glenn, and he, Merle, and the minion leave to discuss what to do.

TG tells the minion to get a group together to scout the prison, and Merle, of course, wants to go along. But, TG is cautious of Merle, questioning his loyalty. Would he side with his brother or stay true to TG and Woodbury?

Merle declares himself for Woodbury, and TG seems satisfied. It made me wonder what TG has over Merle. Is TG just the alpha dog? Or is there something more?

As night falls, Rick, Daryl, Oscar, and Michonne arrive at Woodbury’s walls; they hide and assess the defenses as the camera shows us Andrea walking back to TG’s rooms after her day with Milton. She seems a bit overwrought and goes for some liquor as soon as she gets to TG’s apartment. TG, ever the solicitous man of her dreams, asks about her day, and she tells him that things had not gone according to Milton’s hopes.

Andrea snuggles into TG’s chest, and he comforts her, stroking her head and saying, “It’s alright; it’s over, now.”

SHIVER!

So, where does that leave us? There’s a Woodbury group headed for the prison; Rick, Daryl, Oscar, and Michonne are about to break into Woodbury to attempt the rescue of Glenn and Maggie; and Andrea is all about TG and will probably defend him against the would-be invaders (who she won’t recognize until it’s too late!).

The mid-season finale should be a good one!

What do you think? Leave your conjecture 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-7-merle-glenn.php.))

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