Summary: Rick, Carl and Michonne go on a run back to Rick's neighbourhood to find guns. They get to the police station but all the guns are gone. They start looking around and find a man who is surviving there and tries to kill them. They knock him out and Rick realizes it is Morgan. Rick waits for him to wake up while Carl and Michonne go to get a picture of Lori. Carl initially tries to go alone but Michonne offers to help him and they bond. Morgan wakes up and tells Rick what has happened since Rick left. Duane is dead and Morgan has gone crazy. Rick offers to bring Morgan back but Morgan refuses. Rick takes half of Morgan's guns and the group heads back.
The Good: This was easily the best episode the show has done in a while. The main story took the back seat for this episode as we got a character-driven bottle episode which delivered hugely, improving on almost every issue I've had with the show as a whole.
The bookend opening and closing sequences were excellent. The show had really stopped paying attention to the smaller aspects of this world since season 1, so I was delighted to see two patient and lengthy sequences in this episode that did little to nothing to actually forward the story. The world-building bits like the sign for Erin were wonderful and succeeded in immersing me into the setting of a zombie apocalypse once again. The show had focused too much on the drama aspect of the show without enough emphasis on the fantastic world that was created. This episode fixed that. The man with the orange backpack was terrific. It was an outstanding way to show how dark the main characters have become. Having them finally stop only to take his stuff after he died was absolutely perfect, and was a great way to end the episode.
The detail and effort put into this episode was reminiscent of season 1. I already touched upon the world building, and it continued throughout the episode. The set for Rick's neighbourhood was fantastic with lots of detail put into it, making Morgan's camp feel like a real location that nicely conveyed his new crazy personality. The episode also pleasingly had build-up in it. There were several slower scenes that let the impact of the show fully sink in. I would always take scenes of Rick, Michonne and Carl slowly approaching Morgan's camp over the endlessly dull conversations characters have in other episodes. The episode also nails its pacing. The episode is patient at all the right times, with exciting action and powerful character moments coming in at all the right times.
The dual storylines later in the episode were really strong. All of the scenes with Morgan were terrific. Lennie James was even better than he was in "Days Gone Bye", bringing the insanity of Morgan to life in a way that didn't feel forced or unlikely to happen. Morgan's story about what happened since we last saw him was absolutely heartbreaking. The tales of him waiting for a call from Rick really played on our imagination, allowing us to imagine a lonely image of him which aided to the emotions presented in the episode. Worse was how Duane died. It was an absolutely tragic way for Morgan to lose his son and Lennie James acted the scene perfectly, allowing us to understand how the manner of Duane's death led to him losing his mind.
What was better was how the episode paralleled Rick with Morgan. In Morgan, Rick got to see a vision of who he might become if he loses himself. It's an effective way of restoring Rick's humanity and purpose after what has been a really tough season for him. This is a perfect way to get him to start abandoning his grief over Lori's death to really focus on cementing a future for Carl, himself and everyone else at the prison.
Carl and Michonne's side story was surprisingly effective. I had low expectations going in, but it had a surprising amount of emotional resonance. Carl going back to find a picture of Lori felt very real, and was exactly the type of emotional attachment one would feel to a lost loved one. I've usually felt a disconnect with Carl throughout the show, but here he felt real and I could relate with him really well. Chandler Riggs put in a better than usual performance here too which was really refreshing. I thought Michonne had her best episode yet. She got to show some character here in a few scenes and even made me laugh a couple times. Plus she got to act as a human later in the episode as she makes an attempt to relate with Rick by telling him that she also sees dead people. This is so much more development in one episode than she has gotten int he whole show before this.
The Bad: The main concern I have is that the success of this episode doesn't necessarily mean that the show is improving. This episode didn't fix my issues with the season as a whole, rather it avoided them. I get the sense that this episode was a one-off, and when we get back to the main story we will still get the same issues with characterization as before. It's disappointing that an episode this good doesn't really give me hope that the show will get better.
Michonne somehow getting the picture of Lori so quickly was really stupid. Are we really supposed to assume she did so that quickly and stealthily? Some poor editing let that scene down.
Surely Rick wouldn't want Carl to enter Morgan's house on his own. Carl appeared to hardly be paying attention as he walked up the stairs. One step on the wire and he's dead. There's no way that Rick would risk Carl's life like that.
The Unknown: Will we see Morgan again? Will he ever join up with the prison group?
Did Michonne lose her boyfriend in the apocalypse? What is her story anyways? This episode gave us a really neat clue.
Best Moment: Morgan giving his story of how Duane died. The descriptions were vivid and frightening, while James' performance gave the scene so much weight. It's impossible not to feel for him after that.
Character of the Episode: Morgan.
Conclusion: This was fantastic. "The Walking Dead" took a step back and managed to dish out what I think has to be its best episode since "Days Gone Bye". So much was done correctly here and it made for a complete viewing experience. Even though I'm unsure that this episode signifies a change in the show, it was still damn good.
Summary: The group discusses what to do and end up staying at the prison. Andrea decides to escape Woodbury to speak with her old friends in an attempt for peace. She gets Milton to help her leave. Milton encounters Tyreese's group and brings them into Woodbury. Andrea arrives at the prison and isn't treated the way she was expecting. Her peace offer doesn't work out and she leaves after the group tells her to kill the Governor. She can't bring herself to do it.
The Good: The beginning of the episode had the best scenes which continued Rick's development. Having Hershel finally snap and let Rick know that he put his family in his hands was terrific and provided some much needed emotion from the characters. I also loved seeing Carl tell Rick to step down as leader. It's a great wake-up call for Rick to give him some impetus to get back into form.
The Bad: The Woodbury story is a big failure for me. It's so hard for me to invest in seeing these people arm up and there are absolutely no emotions for me to latch onto to give me something to care about or react to.
Andrea's arc in general suffered badly from this. Out of nowhere, she becomes a pacifist and goes for peace and ends up in this conflicted position. The big issue is that the Governor is clearly an insane liar so it's very unclear why Andrea sticks with him. All she has to do is kill him and take the lead for herself and then there is peace for everyone. She comes off as an idiot for not being able to kill him and her story fails to get sympathy from me.
Her reunion with the prison group disappointed. The scenes are so empty and devoid of any emotion. It feels so awkward and forgettable when it really should have been much more emotional. Both parties are so antagonistic to each other the entire time and it hardly comes off like they are old friends. Rick then oddly gives Andrea a fond farewell which was tonally off from the rest of the scene which suggests to me that this was intended to be a more emotional scene. It completely fails in that regard.
Michonne remains a poor character who I don't care about in the slightest. Her scene with Andrea was very poor and doesn't at all convey that these two used to be friends. Michonne is so awful for her and reveals that she decided to make her an enemy because the Governor had control over her. It's really dumb and makes Michonne seem heartless for just cutting Andrea out and then saying so many horrible things to her here.
Surely Merle should still be imprisoned. Why would anyone trust him?
The Unknown: Will Tyreese's group's knowledge of the prison play a role int he war to come?
Will there be any consequences for Andrea for going to the prison? Will she be able to turn against the Governor int he future?
Best Moment: Hershel snapping was great.
Character of the Episode: Hershel.
Conclusion: This was weak. A lot of the episode lacked emotion and it felt empty and lifeless as a result. A big disappointment.
Summary: Rick walks off into the forest to collect himself and Glenn puts himself in charge. Glenn is angry and wants vengeance. The Governor puts Andrea in charge of Woodbury while he collects himself. He promises not to attack the prison but he leaves with some men on a supply run, which Andrea is suspicious about. Daryl realizes that being with Merle won't be like it was before and he convinces Merle to go back to the prison. The Governor attacks at the prison and a massive gunfight ensues. Axel dies. The Governor breaks down the fences and releases a horde of walkers inside the fences. The Governor leaves with the prison a mess.
The Good: I enjoyed both Woodbury and the prison responding to the open war they are now involved in. Glenn's desire for revenge and open combat made sense and I really liked seeing him cave under the pressure of being the leader now. His relationship with Maggie also got some solid development as they both addressed what happened in Woodbury. The Governor and Andrea's interactions in Woodbury were solid too and I liked the way that the Governor treated Andrea. He let her be in charge but in exchange decided to secretly attack the prison.
Rick's story remains sad and engaging. His decaying mental state after losing Lori is powerful to watch and Andrew Lincoln is very good at conveying Rick's emotions. Rick and Hershel's conversation in the middle of the episode was extremely strong. Hershel is being the voice of reason to Rick, helping him overcome the complex emotions he must be feeling.
Daryl's story was fine. His mini-arc told the good story of him realizing how life with Merle isn't going to be the same as it was before after everything that has changed him. The dialogue between the brothers was strong as usual, and the action sequence was pretty fun.
The climactic battle was even better. The setpiece was very nicely done and it was impressive how many of the characters felt exposed and at risk of death. The Governor's attack was a total surprise and it left me feeling that an important character may be facing some major consequences. While that didn't happen, we still got a very entertaining gunfight that provided a strong climax to the episode.
The Bad: Axel was handled really badly. He finally gets some development here and has some nice interactions with Carol. But then it's all meaningless because he dies. It seems like a waste of a character, and worse yet, now all of the prisoner characters are dead making their storyline almost entirely pointless. The death was surprising, but we need to care about characters before they die so it means something.
Also, the Governor must be one hell of a marksman to make that shot (and without a sniper at that!). It's a shame that after that one shot, every single person failed to shoot accurately. Martinez was the biggest culprit as he missed Rick with so many shots when he was wide open. And then when Rick runs into the open, Martinez just leaves. Why didn't he kill him?
Daryl and Merle's story was extremely generic and it wasn't written particularly well. The whole "daddy lashings" thing felt so forced (how did Merle not know about this before?), and it was a contrived way to get Merle to agree to go back to the prison. Another nitpick, but there is no way in hell that Daryl heard that baby crying from so far away. It was a poor example of sound design.
The Unknown: It appears that the Governor's motive behind the assault was to damage and not kill the prisoners. Perhaps he hopes that the walkers he released in there will kill them all? That would prove to be a good way to explain how the prison group all died. A horde broke the fence and killed them all. But, it seems like Andrea won't buy whatever the Governor tells her. What will that lead to?
Will Rick be back in leadership now? Will he retaliate against the Governor?
Best Moment: The climactic battle was really fun.
Character of the Episode: Glenn.
Conclusion: This ended up being a solid episode. There was good follow-up and a strong climax. Enjoyable television.
Summary: Merle and Daryl begin to fight but when Rick's group arrives to get Daryl, they both escape in the chaos. Merle isn't allowed back at camp so Daryl decides to go with him. Andrea starts taking leadership over the rioting crowds of Woodbury while The Governor isolates himself. Hershel takes a liking to Tyreese's group and they try to convince Hershel to let them stay. Rick returns and Hershel almost convinces him to let Tyreese's group stay. Rick has a vision of Lori and has a breakdown, telling Tyreese's group to leave and they do.
The Good: Merle and Daryl were the strongest part of the episode. I loved seeing the crew interact with Merle after everything he's done and the fact that they refused to let him stay at the prison made sense. I especially loved that Merle didn't resort to begging but rather continued insulting everyone to keep consistent with his character. Rick getting frustrated and knocking him out was a lovely moment.
I also liked Daryl's decision to abandon the group and go with Merle. It's an interesting new development and I would like to see where the story goes for them. The effect that Daryl's departure had an effect on everyone which I really liked to see. His loss was felt and it has changed the dynamic of the group and has severely weakened them.
I thought the conflict with Tyreese's group was pretty good. It was an effective way to highlight the differences between Rick and Hershel and provided the best moment of the episode at the end (see: Best Moment). Tyreese's group came off as good people, and while I'm not yet invested in them, I want to learn more about these characters. I especially liked the details of their backstory with Jerry who had an emergency bunker and the group of 25 who all died when a herd attacked.
The Bad: The opening rescue didn't work and it made last episode's cliffhanger feel completely pointless since it led nowhere. I thought the rescue failed because it wasn't built up and felt stupid. Do we just assume that nobody kept guard in case they came back to Woodbury? That's pretty dumb. Furthermore, the sudden arrival was nowhere near as satisfying as the intensely built up rescue of Glenn and Maggie.
The rest of the episode suffered greatly from the slow pace. I have found that these longer seasons have resulted in too many slow episodes and that plays against the shows strengths. The quality of the show is a far cry from what it was in season 1 and the weak characterization sticks out like a sore thumb in episodes like these where not much really happens. This slow pace is really grating on me now and I want to see the show move at a quicker pace with more focus on drama since that is what made the show so good to begin with.
This episode had too much talking. The worst part is that the talking didn't really accomplish much. A bunch of characters just discussed minor unimportant things that I'm certain won't be important later. The biggest example of this was Glenn and Maggie's conflict which seems to exist solely to give both characters something to do in this episode. Furthermore, the C-stories in this show consist of characters just talking and grieving and doing very little. This show could use some of the side stories that "Lost" had as those side storylines allowed the characters to accomplish something while giving us a better understanding of them. It would be much more interesting than what we have now.
The Woodbury storyline wasn't great either. I thought the riot was really stupid. Why would everyone just decide to leave Woodbury? Surely they would instead want to just have more guards to ensure safety. But instead they inexplicably want to go outside to their deaths. The riots would have made more sense if they happened after a walker killed one of their citizens to show them that Woodbury may not be any safer than the outside.
Michonne still refuses to speak like a normal human. At least she is consistent in being an unrealistic character.
The Unknown: Are there other walkers inside the walls? Maybe it was more than just the one.
Is Andrea taking over leadership now? What will she do? Is she going to try to bring about a peace with our main group? What will become of the Governor? What does he plan to do? What is his current mental state like?
Where will Tyreese's group go now? Perhaps we will see them arrive at Woodbury.
Best Moment: Rick is on the verge of letting Tyreese's group stay at the prison but suddenly ghost Lori appears to him, reminding him of what happens when he trusts other people. This breaks Rick and caused the most emotional scene of the episode as Rick nearly loses his mind to the PTSD that is affecting him.
Character of the Episode: Rick.
Conclusion: Not the best way to resume the show. The episode wasn't particularly bad, but it was slow and didn't accomplish much at all. I'm not as interested in what comes next as I should be.
Summary: A new group of survivors arrives at the prison and Carl helps them but locks them in a cell. At Woodbury, Rick's group infiltrates the camp and locate Glenn and Maggie. They rescue them and try to escape but Oscar is killed in the ensuing chaos. Michonne waits for the Governor and finds Penny while she waits. She kills Penny and fights the Governor, stabbing his eye with a shard of glass. Andrea arrives so Michonne leaves. The Governor is angry at Merle and puts him in a deathmatch with Daryl, who was captured.
The Good: For the most part, this was a tense and exciting mid-season finale that provided a lot of fun. The assault on Woodbury was enjoyable with a number of fun sequences. I liked the use of flashbangs and smoke grenades as a way for Glenn and Maggie to be safely taken away from Merle. The sequence was shot really nicely and was very tense all the way through.
The best parts were everything between Michonne and the Governor. I really liked that Michonne crept into the Governor's chambers and simply sat their waiting. It was pretty cool and was the one badass Michonne moment that I thought worked in terms of her character. The ensuing fight was very gritty and dramatic and was probably the best action drama that I've seen in this show so far. I really liked Michonne's execution of Penny as well. It added some emotion to their scenes as the Governor begged Michonne not to kill her, and it led to that brilliantly gruesome visual of the Governor crying over his dead daughters body with a shard of glass sticking out of his eye.
I thought Daryl's conflict was really good. I liked seeing him grappling with saving Glenn and Maggie and talking to Merle. It was a nice extra layer of tension because we couldn't be sure about what choices Daryl would make that could jeopardize the mission. It seemed certain that something would go wrong with the mission to add some more drama and I had suspected that Daryl would be the cause of this.
Instead, it was Rick who was the cause. The hallucination of Shane was an interesting choice. While I don't currently see its relevance (see: The Unknown), it does open up for some more interesting story for Rick.
The Bad: The big gunfight in the smoke was lame and generic television. I enjoyed the other action scenes because they were creative and tense. Unfortunately, the big gunfight was neither as it was a classic TV gunfight where hundreds of bullets are shot and none seem to hit the mark. Gunfights like these really bother me.
Oscar was the only character who died in the episode and it was incredible how little I cared. Next time, develop the characters instead of just killing them for no reason other than "oh look he died".
Rick's plan was a bit stupid. I was annoyed by him giving Michonne hell for not knowing where Glenn and Michonne were. How was she supposed to know? Furthermore, the decision to split up was beyond stupid. It seemed like an easy way for all of them to get killed.
Even though Michonne had her best scene in this episode, she is still frustrating. Her encounter with Andrea was really bad. The scene was played for emotion but it failed in every way because of how poor Michonne has been as a character. It's frustrating that she doesn't tell Andrea anything to let her know that the Governor is dangerous. Maybe mention the imprisoned Glenn and Maggie, the Governor's head collection or something else to help her understand why the Governor shouldn't be trusted. Instead, Michonne is a terrible friend and leaves Andrea in the hornet's nest.
The cliff-hanger was really weak. It was a classic prisoner swap story which isn't particularly interesting to me. I never liked those stories because it always feels like nothing was accomplished from freeing the initial prisoners. I thought it was a poor cliff-hanger to end of the first half season. Last season had a great climactic moment with the walkers in the barn and Sophia's death signifying the end of season 2A. This season failed to replicate the same sense of closure by its halfway point.
I thought the new survivor group's story was fine, but it feels like a storyline that should have been introduced in the next episode, not this one.
Hershel letting Carl go out to investigate because "his father would do the same" was really awkward. Was Hershel really convinced by that?
The Unknown: Who are the new group of survivors? Can we trust them? Where have they been this whole time?
What is Axel's backstory? He screams sex offender to me.
Best Moment: Michonne and the Governor's fight was brutal and exciting.
Character of the Episode: The Governor.
Conclusion: This was a relatively fun mid-season finale that provided some quality scenes. However, the episode fails to be special due to a number of flaws and a lack of emotional connection to the events.
This half season has been fairly enjoyable so far, but inconsistent. There has been some great episodes and some weaker ones as well. But it is still enjoyable, and I hope that this quality can be maintained for the next 8 episodes.
Summary: Merle tortures Glenn in an attempt to discover where the group is. Rick lets Michonne into the prison and she tells him about Woodbury and that Glenn and Maggie were taken. Rick decides to take a group to Woodbury to get them back. The Governor steps in to aid Merle and Maggie gives up the location of the prison. Andrea oversees an experiment that Milton is conducting about walker conscience. Andrea saves his life and Milton realizes that walkers are just monsters.
The Good: This was a really good episode that built up the mid-season finale in exciting ways with three really good stories.
The torture scenes ended up being tense and exciting. Merle's vicious beatdown on Glenn was violent, but unlike in "Game of Thrones", the scenes were shot with enough restraint so that I won't ever be tempted to turn off the TV watching those scenes. The walker fight with Glenn was really nicely choreographed as well and I especially liked how Glenn was able to adapt to the situation and survive. But, the best scenes in this story came from The Governor. Watching him threaten Maggie with rape was genuinely unsettling and at times frightening. I was horribly unnerved by it all, but also impressed with the way that The Governor was able to get the information he wanted through threats alone without actually doing anything violent. He simply played his mind games on Maggie so she easily cracked when The Governor threatened Glenn's life.
Milton's experiment was really enjoyable. Even though we are well aware that Mr. Coleman won't have any conscience left after he dies, Milton is not. The genius of this scene is how we know exactly what Andrea knows and we end up seeing the entire scene through her eyes. Milton is put in a sympathetic light in this scene because Andrea maturely sympathizes with him instead of shoving her beliefs onto him like so many other characters in this show have done. It's a good way to get us to invest in a new character who is finally getting a bit of a spotlight.
I was really happy to see Rick and Carl discussing Lori's death, albeit briefly. After Rick went into hiding for a while, he never really had a chance to speak with Carl. I'm pleased that the show chose to address this and didn't just leave it. The scene did a nice job of showing how Carl has matured following Lori's death with the way that he swallowed his emotions. His character development is pretty unsettling, but it's fitting for the world we have been shown. I also liked that Carl got to name the new baby Judith. It's good to have a name for her now, and I think the idea of Carl naming her after a teacher he had in the old world is a good metaphor for how Judith represents the hope in the group.
While the scene at the cabin was essentially filler, I really liked it. I was intrigued by the man living there (see: The Unknown) and I thought he presented a logical threat to demonstrate that Rick is still performing as a capable leader and that he hasn't become soft following Lori's death. I also thought that the use of the man's body to allow the group to sneak away was really clever.
The ending was really good. The cliffhanger works really well and leaves me really excited to see the next episode.
The Bad: Michonne remains a problem with her impossibly bad communication skills. It's highly unlikely that she wouldn't tell Rick's group everything if she wants them to destroy Woodbury and free Andrea. Surely she would mention both Merle and Andrea.
The Unknown: The man in the cabin seemed to be unaware that the world ended. How is that possible? Has he been so isolated for so long that he never noticed? Have walkers never gone to his house before? Or was he just startled or drugged? I was going to put this in The Bad but it's possible there was more to this character than I initially thought. It's left me thinking and is an interesting addition to the story.
Best Moment: The Governor threatening to rape Maggie was creepy and it was the scene that elicited the largest reaction from me in a good way.
Character of the Episode: Glenn.
Conclusion: This was a very good episode that sets up the mid-season finale very well. I look forward to what should be an intense bloodbath next episode.
Summary: Rick continues getting phone calls and eventually discovers that they are a hallucination. Glenn and Maggie go out on a supply run. Andrea starts a romantic relationship with the Governor. Merle goes hunting with a group of men to find Michonne. The other men die and Merle determines Michonne is as good as dead. Merle runs into Glenn and Maggie and captures them. He reports to the Governor and tells him Michonne is dead. Daryl finds Carol alive.
The Good: The phone call storyline was excellent. I am extremely pleased that the show is portraying Rick's grief in such detail, giving him two entire episodes to mourn the death of his wife. Andrew Lincoln was phenomenal in this episode and did well to show Rick's declined mental state after he has lost his purpose. The hopelessness that hits him is sad to watch but it's very impactful. Seeing Rick grieving the fact that he couldn't put the group back together is heartbreaking and furthers his story arc as group leader in a new way.
There were a few strong character scenes throughout the episode to compliment the Rick scenes as well. Rick and Hershel had a lovely scene as Hershel gets to thank Rick for saving his life. I also like that Hershel clearly notices that Rick is losing it, but has the patience to let Rick grieve and rediscover himself instead of just calling him crazy. Daryl and Carl had a good scene. I liked Daryl's monologue about losing his mother and Carl's emotionless reaction to it was pretty sad. Carl has lost himself after Lori's death, but in a totally different way than Rick. Merle had some nice moments in this episode to let us know that he is still a crazy, murderous bastard despite the Governor helping him find his place in the community.
Merle's hunt for Michonne was pretty good aside from one odd moment (see: The Bad). I especially liked the confrontation between Merle and Glenn/Maggie. There was a lot of tension because it was impossible to know what Merle was planning to do with Glenn and Maggie. It was possible that he would simply go with them to see Daryl, but he also could have easily attempted to capture or kill them. Add in Michonne hiding behind the car, and the scene was wildly unpredictable with tons of tension. I thought the pay-off was good too as I could easily buy into Merle outclassing Glenn and Maggie the way he did.
The Bad: The discovery of Carol wasn't satisfying at all. The story of her disappearance was pointless in the end and it accomplished nothing. I was annoyed that the writers only allowed Daryl to show some emotion over losing Carol mere moments before he found her.
Gargulio's character was highly implausible. The idea that this frightened guy would become a hardened and excited killer was simply ridiculous. The whole transformation was rushed and unconvincing.
The Unknown: What is the Governor going to do with Glenn and Maggie? Does he plan to learn where their group is?
It's interesting that the Governor wanted Michonne's head and sword to be returned. Was the head for his head collection? It seems that he has more of an attachment to these heads than he lets on. Why is that?
How did Michonne find the prison? What does she plan to do when Rick lets her in? Does she want to help Andrea? Glenn and Maggie? Or is she just hoping for a community that is better than Woodbury?
Best Moment: Rick's realization that he was hallucinating was sad. His teary admission that he failed to fix the group and keep them together was sad and extremely well performed.
Character of the Episode: Rick.
Conclusion: This was a good episode that I enjoyed. While there wasn't anything that made this great, it was a solid hour of television.
Summary: Rick goes back into the prison in a rampage after Lori's death. Daryl and Maggie go on a supply run to get baby formula. Michonne prowls through the Governor's quarters and reclaims her sword. She kills walkers that were being kept in Woodbury. The Governor is displeased with Michonne. Michonne and Andrea try to leave Woodbury and Merle lets them go. Michonne leaves but Andrea stays. The Governor holds a gladiator fight with walkers watching for entertainment which disgusts Andrea. Rick receives a phone call.
The Good: Rick's slaughter after learning of Lori's death was pretty solid. It made sense for his character to bury himself away after losing Lori and shows that her death has had a huge effect on him which will likely change him even more going into the future. At this rate, there may not be much of season 1 Rick left by the end of this season.
I liked some of the stuff that happened in Woodbury. The Governor's daughter is an interesting new development. The idea that this character lost his family and is in denial about it is a fresh new look at grief and it helps give another layer to a character who I'm steadily becoming more interested in. This development also helps ask some meaningful questions about the walker research which is going on (see: The Unknown).
I thought the idea of a walker gladiator fight was pretty good. I thought the Governor had sound reasoning for including it in there and I think it does a good job of exploring how different kind of cultures and pastimes need to be formed in a post-apocalyptic world. I also think that it's a fair way to get Andrea to be a little unsure about Woodbury as she only views walkers as frightening threats after spending so much time outside of Woodbury.
The Bad: Michonne is a big problem for the show. She is portrayed as a protagonist but she is so bad at communicating her emotions and is completely unreasonable, which makes me heavily dislike her. I hate that she is incapable of basic communication with Andrea and she doesn't even try to convince her of how Woodbury is unsafe. She just tells her the place is dangerous with no evidence. Of course Andrea won't listen to that! Worse yet, Michonne proves to be a total jerk as she leaves Andrea inside of what she believes to be a hornet's nest without a second thought. Why should I care about this cold-hearted and stupid person? Furthermore, the show has failed to make Woodbury appear as a villainous location. I don't buy that the place is dangerous because there is nothing that has been presented to me which proves this. So far, the Governor appears to be a string leader of a group he cares about, with the only issues being that the character is clearly at least a little unhinged. That's not bad at all, so I don't know why Michonne is so convinced that these people are dangerous. I'm with Andrea here, Michonne is dumb.
I didn't like how heavily they framed the gladiator fight as an inexcusable sin for Woodbury that proves to Andrea how dangerous the place is. Surely Andrea at least slightly understands the Governor's reasoning and doesn't immediately decide that Michonne was right. Additionally, the Governor comes off as a fool for not telling Andrea what was happening beforehand, as something like this would surely be horrific for her if the Governor hadn't mentioned it was staged.
The story at the prison was pretty weak. Aside from Rick, the effects of several important characters dying are very minimal. It doesn't feel like the earthshaking event that it seemed like in the previous episode. What hurts the most is how nobody reacted at all to Carol's apparent death. They all just accepted it. Even Daryl, who spent forever hunting down Sophia who they all thought was dead. Why didn't they do the same for Carol? They never found her body. I thought it was hilarious that the show finally decided to give T-Dog some development after he was dead.
I was displeased with how carelessly the walkers were handled in this episode. The writers apparently forgot that scratches were fatal as nobody does anything to worry about the scratches throughout the episode, from the Governor getting grabbed by Penny to the gladiator fight scene where the walkers actually grab the guys. Furthermore, I didn't like how careless Merle, Milton and the others were with the walkers they were reigning in. If it were me, I would never do that job unless I was in full riot gear.
There were some awkward moments in this episode. The most notable was Carl saying the names of all of those who they lost. It wasn't particularly bad, just weird, and I don't think it had the desired effect. I also wasn't sure what to think of the scene with Rick and the fat walker (see: The Unknown).
The Unknown: What was the Governor's list of names for? Why did he write all those lines?
Did the Governor actually tame a walker? Was Penny partly tamed by him? That's really interesting. It also adds on to Milton's research on walkers. Did the Governor tame Penny because she knew him when she was alive?
Is there actually a more sinister side to Woodbury? There doesn't appear to be so far but I might be wrong.
I was very confused by Rick killing the one walker. Was it purely symbolic? Did the walker do something to Lori? Where was Lori's body? Did this walker eat it?
What was that phone call at the end? Is somebody else alive in the prison? Is it Carol? Also how is the phone working? Are the generators running somehow? Or is this just a hallucination?
Best Moment: Not much to choose from in this episode. I liked Daryl quickly killing the possum for dinner.
Character of the Episode: The Governor.
Conclusion: This was a fine continuation of the story, but the episode felt shallow with not much depth to it at all. The Woodbury story hasn't been very compelling so an episode centered around it isn't very impressive.
Summary: The prisoners appear again and Rick wants to send them on the road. Hershel starts walking around on crutches. Walkers suddenly appear and attack. Lori, Carl and Maggie escape into the tunnels together. T-Dog and Carol escape together but T-Dog is bitten and dies. Carol's fate is unknown. Alarms start blaring and Rick, Daryl and the prisoners go to shut them off. Rick finds Andrew there and the prisoners kill him. Lori has to give birth in the tunnels but it doesn't go well. Maggie is forced to do a C-section and Lori dies in the process. Carl shoots her head. Rick learns of what happens and breaks down.
The Good: This was a great episode that featured some of the show's most powerful and heartbreaking scenes so far.
I was pleased by the initial discussion regarding the prisoners. I like that each of the characters got to make different suggestions for what to do based on what we know about them. I like that Rick was willing to listen to them but still follows his gut instincts instead of others when making these decisions. I thought the prisoners came off fairly well too and Oscar's comments regarding Axel's odd attempts to be friendly were pretty funny.
Then the episode devolved into chaos. Having the hope from Hershel walking around again being transformed to horror when the walkers attacked was a signature TWD moment. The tension escalated immediately and I was worried that the show would do something shocking by killing Hershel right after he had just recovered. Even though that didn't happen, two other central characters died in this episode which is pretty big. I heavily praise the show for making it feel like anyone can die at any given moment as it has led to these walker attacks having unbelievable amounts of tension. It's impressive that I was still nervous for the characters after T-Dog was bit because there was always the possibility that some other characters would face some extreme consequences.
This leads into Lori giving birth in the prison tunnels which was extremely tense. Eventually it became clear that Lori wasn't going to make it, and then the episode took a dark and tragic turn. It's impressive that the show made me feel so much from the death of a character I never liked. Lori's death was powerful because of the impact it had on other characters. Watching Carl witness his mother get cut open and die was brutal and worse was his cold decision to shoot his mom to prevent her from turning. It was a rough experience that succeeded hugely in hitting me hard with the depressing nature of the show. When the baby came out and wasn't making any sounds, I was genuinely afraid that the baby would be a stillborn and that Lori died for nothing. It was a horrific moment to watch and had me completely engaged the entire time.
But horror isn't enough to provide compelling television. We need some emotional engagement for it to really stick. And we got the emotional engagement through Rick, a character we do care about. Rick's reaction to Lori's death was heartbreaking, stemming from a terrific performance by Andrew Lincoln who conveys Rick's sadness really well. The scene made me genuinely feel sad and I really felt bad for Rick after everything he did to keep Lori safe in the prison. I really like the detail that Andrew is the one who caused this chaos. This makes it so it was Rick's decision to not outright murder Andrew that indirectly caused his wife's death. It wasn't because he lost himself to the world and became too dark, but rather he didn't go far enough to save Lori. It's a distressing story to tell and sets up Rick's character very nicely for change during the rest of the season.
I thought the Woodbury scenes were solid. I continue to like the Governor and the way he manipulates people. We got to see him manipulate Andrea and Merle in different ways that allows him to get what he wants for his community. While there are clearly hints of him being downright evil, he has been portrayed as a smart man who is willing to do whatever he needs to for his people. I liked Merle and Andrea's scene as well. The dialogue was good and I like how they touched on the fact that both of them were left behind by Rick's group.
The Bad: There were a few small issues I had with the walker assault. First of all, they appeared far too quickly for it to be realistic. It was a good reveal, but it made little sense. Furthermore, Maggie taking Lori into the depths of the prison was a bit dumb. Hershel and Beth stayed outside the prion, so why didn't they? It would have been much smarter. The death of T-Dog wasn't very impactful since we hardly knew him. Had he been given more character development in the show, the moment could have been much better. I wasn't pleased by Daryl's lack of reaction to Carol's apparent death. Surely he would have at least a small reaction.
Michonne continues to be bland. If she really wants Andrea to leave, why doesn't she just tell her that she thinks The Governor killed the military people? That should certainly help Andrea open her eyes to what Michonne believes is really going on.
The Unknown: Will Merle go find Daryl anyways? He doesn't seem like the kind of person to just listen.
What happened to Carol? Is she dead or still surviving?
How will Rick and Carl take Lori's death? How will that affect their characters?
Best Moment: Rick's reaction to Lori's death was extremely effective at making me feel something for him.
Character of the Episode: Lori.
Conclusion: This episode was very strong with good developments and some riveting moments. Some of the scenes here were the best that the show has ever done making this one of the show's better episodes.
Summary: Andrea and Michonne see a helicopter crash and investigate. A group comes by and the two hide but they are found by Merle. The two are taken to a community called Woodbury which is run by a man called The Governor. Both women are distrustful but The Governor convinces them to stay for a little bit. There is a survivor from the helicopter crash who leads The Governor to his group of survivors. The Governor kills all of them and takes their supplies.
The Good: This was solid for the most part. It may not have been the most exciting episode to watch (see: The Bad), but the direction that the show has chosen to go is potentially extremely interesting.
I thought the scene at the site of the helicopter crash was very tense, and was the most exciting moment of the episode. I was on the edge of my seat as I was nervous that The Governor's group would discover Michonne and Andrea while also being nervous that Andrea and Michonne would do something rash since they weren't aware that everyone is infected. The ending reveal of Merle being with the group was terrific and got me pretty excited for the upcoming scenes in the episode.
The reintroduction of Merle was well done and his character remains as vile and obtuse as ever, which is a certain improvement on most of the other bland characters in this show. The new characters were pretty solid too, with the highlight being The Governor. I thought David Morrissey was a good casting choice and he helped bring The Governor's complexity to light. Evidently, The Governor appears to be a sort of mirror for Rick who is another man doing his best to lead his people. But like Rick, The Governor is still living in this world and is forced to make tough choices, like the one to kill the military group to take all of their supplies. I like that The Governor has been portrayed as a grey character, and judging by the final scene, he has many more layers to him that we have yet to see.
The community of Woodbury is really good. I like that the show is exploring the potential of a new community being formed in the wreckage of the world. I appreciated the small size of the community, as it felt very realistic and it didn't at all feel like a stretch that this place could exist. It makes sense for survivors to flock to a leader, and The Governor happened to be placed in charge of this community.
I was pleased to learn that the walkers don't need to eat. I hope that Milton can be used to provide us some more information about walkers in the future.
The Bad: This show still struggles with its characters. We have known Andrea for over 2 seasons and yet she hardly has a character. Spending an hour with an underdeveloped character like her is really dull and that hurt my enjoyment of this episode. The show also failed to meaningfully develop anyone aside from The Governor which meant that there was no character journey to make this episode a little more enjoyable. I tend to really enjoy episodes which focus on one single character and storyline, but there needs to be an emotional journey for the episode to succeed.
Michonne's character was awful in this episode. We hardly know her, so this was the opportune time for us to get more acquainted with her and so we can care for her character. yet we only get one scene to characterize her which hardly tells us anything about her. So far, she is boring, unimaginative and dull. That can't be the result of a character who just had an entire episode to grow and develop. Her decision to not trust The Governor is totally unearned. Why doesn't she just agree to sit around for one day to figure out more? Surely she is smart enough to understand that if he was going to kill them, they would already be dead.
The Unknown: I see some huge potential for this story. The idea that there are characters in two different communities being developed can be a really good one and it can lead to some complex emotions if both groups come into conflict. But I'm nervous that The Governor will simply be portrayed as evil for the sake of it which will sacrifice these emotions. Also, I don't trust this show to have capable enough character development to make this story work, which is a red flag. With 16 episodes in the season, I hope to see better character development, but these first three episodes haven't delivered in that regard. Let's hope for the best with this story.
What other secrets are there in Woodbury? What else is The Governor hiding? What happened to his family? Why does he keep a collection of walker heads?
Best Moment: Merle's return was a delightful moment.
Character of the Episode: The Governor.
Conclusion: This episode did a good job of introducing a new community and that was interesting. Unfortunately it didn't do much else and lacked in character development which made this a rather dull hour to watch. I like the direction this episode went, but the actual episode left a lot to be desired.
Just a university student who loves to watch TV. And criticize it like hell.