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.))