Hershel: “We can’t stay here.”
Glenn: “We can’t run.”
After the farm was overrun, Rick set his sights on finding a more permanent shelter: one they could fortify and that would provide some stability. They found it in the prison and made it their own. But in this episode, the group decided the prison wasn’t just a shelter, it was their home – one they would fight to defend when logic pointed to running.
We start in Crazytown. Rick is surveying the grounds and focuses in on ghost Lori standing by her grave. He runs past Michonne to find Lori, but she soon moves. She’s making her way further and further into walker territory. Rick decides to follow her past the fences, toward the woods. That sounds like a good plan. Michonne, who smartly appears to be getting ready to leave very, very slowly, looks on with a mix of curiosity and alarm. She left a mentally unhinged leader in Woodbury not that long ago.
The scene switches to Woodbury, but it’s just more crazy - in other words, we see the Governor and Andrea. The Governor promises no retaliation against Rick’s group. Yup, I believe that. He asks Andrea to take on a leadership role. OK, what is he up to? I’m also wondering when he plans to let her in on his methods of running things, like killing a group soldiers under a pretext of peace, or forcing his kidnap victim to strip topless in order to humiliate her.
A little later, we catch up with the Governor again, who is now speaking with Milton. “You’ve been invaluable,” the Governor says. Crap, I think. He’s going to kill him. The governor starts talking about Merle, and loyalty, and Andrea. No, he’s not going to kill him. He’s fishing for something else. The governor asks him to keep tabs on Andrea. There we have it.
Andrea apparently takes the Governor’s suggestion seriously, but no one else takes her seriously. In fact, she can’t even find out where the Governor disappeared to. Milton tells her he’s out on a run, but won’t say where.
We join Merle and Daryl in the woods, but Daryl misses the prison. Awww, Daryl’s homesick already! And then Merle reminds him that his friends are probably being slaughtered by the governor right now. Mood killer.
Merle mocks Daryl when Daryl starts hearing babies crying in the woods. Wow, he really misses the group! Except that Daryl is right. A family is being attacked by walkers, and Daryl rushes off to the rescue while Merle at first mocks him, and then reluctantly helps out. The best zombie kill of the night comes when Daryl smashes the hatch door of a car on a walker’s head.
Merle again spoils the mood by trying to rob the family. But Daryl has changed and pulls a weapon on Merle, telling the family to drive away. Merle is angry and starts to realize that Daryl isn’t going to passively go along with him anymore. Merle reminds Daryl of a plan to rob the group before Merle and Daryl got separated. Interesting story! I’m ready for more flashbacks. I want to see how these different groups came together. The Dixons, Andrea and Amy, Shane and his group. I also want to see a story of what it was like when the news started about people coming back from the dead. What did they think when they saw their first walker? How did they learn that a headshot kills them?
But back to the episode … Daryl’s back is exposed and Merle sees scars from abuse at the hands of I’m assuming their father. Merle feels guilty about leaving Daryl behind. Apparently the same thing happened to Merle. We get the first real brother scene as Merle feels honest guilt and pain from not being able to protect his brother. But now Daryl has had enough of following Merle and is heading back to the prison – obviously more of home to him than the one he grew up in. Merle says he can’t come with him because he tried to kill Michonne and he tortured Glenn. But Daryl won’t let him off this time: “I may be the one who’s walking away, but you’re the one who’s leaving, again.”
Home Sweet Home
Back at the prison, Glenn has taken up the leadership role and is itching for a fight. He wants to go with Michonne and find the governor and put a bullet in his head. Hershel argues for the group leaving the prison rather than waiting to be attacked. Maggie just walks away.
A short time later, Glenn and Maggie finally have a good talk about what happened at Woodbury, although it doesn’t feel good. It’s emotional and angry, and ends with Maggie telling Glenn to leave. Fast forward here. I don’t want to watch them fight. They’re just too cute of a couple.
Outside by the fence, Hershel wants to know if Rick is coming back soon. A lot of us are wondering that. Rick answers, “I’ve got stuff out here.” Yup, that sounded convincing. You weren’t kidding when you told Carl you’re not as good as expressing yourself as your father. Finally Rick lets it out and tells Hershel he’s been seeing Lori and Shane. He’s expecting the visions to mean something. “I’m waiting,” Rick says. “For what?” “I don’t know. Something. There’s an answer. “ OK, I’ll bite. What’s the question?
Elsewhere in the prison, Carol teaches Axel to use a gun and Axel flirts with Carol. Surprisingly, it looks like it’s working. Carol looks charmed. We also learn that Alex liked his home in the prison better than being on the outside. A bit later, Axel is telling her a story about his brother, when “Splat!” There goes his face. I jumped out of my seat on that one. I was about to write this off as sleepy, somewhat dull episode, when all of sudden the prison is the scene of a riveting gun battle.
The prison is under attack by a fired-up Governor and a few goons. Rick almost loses his face as well and Hershel is trapped in an open field. Someone from the governor’s team is shooting from the watchtower. How did that person get up there? Our group is pinned down, running out of ammo, and narrowly escaping bullets. Then we hear the sound of engines and the Governor grins. That can’t be good. I’m waiting to see a return of the tank the Governor’s group stole from the military unit, but it’s probably too early in the season for that. Nope, not yet. It’s a van packed with walkers that smashes through the gate and unleashes the walkers right in the area where Hershel is hiding in the grass. Oh no. The governor brought a housewarming gift.
Hershel looks finished. So does Rick, who is out of ammo and fighting hand-to-hand with a growing group of walkers. Except the governor inexplicably decides to leave now, right when he was winning. Hershel is rescued by Glenn and Michonne, and Rick is rescued by Daryl and Merle. Apparently the governor just want to play right now, and the real is fight is scheduled for a different episode.
The Group Makes a Stand
We and Rick’s group are learning more about the Governor and his tactics. He didn’t seem to want to finish off the group this time around. He wanted to draw it out. He’s also lying to Andrea with the grace of a true psychopath. What is his aim in establishing Andrea as a substitute leader? Is it because he thinks if she’s leader, it will free him up to spend more time on his more amusing projects, such as attacking the prison?
Is also looks like the prison family is getting a new member. Merle won’t leave Daryl, and Daryl won’t abandon the prison, and Rick wants and needs Daryl around. So how do you think this will go? I was pleased to see some true emotion from Merle with the guilt about his brother. That should keep him under control for a while. But it is a ticking timebomb. How long do you think Merle can stay with this group? Less than an episode? A few episodes? The rest of the season? Until he’s killed off?