The Walking Dead – Zombie Round-Up: Made To Suffer
I’m sad to say that this is going to be the last Zombie Round-Up for 2012, as last night was the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead, but WHAT A FINALE! Craziness abounds as our survivors break in to Woodbury to get Glen and Maggie back from The Governor and his hench-hillbilly Merle Dixon. It’s going to be a rough Winter break, but truth be told, I’d rather have this short break now then a slightly longer break in the Spring and Summer instead of having all the episodes air in an unbroken weekly streak, resulting in really LONG break until the new season starts. When we do it this way, we’re portioning out our misery throughout the year, so the waiting doesn’t seem that bad. That message of restraint now being out of the way: DAMN I can’t wait for February to get here!
Of course, as always before we get down to business, the spoiler disclaimer:
In the show’s cold open this week, we are finally introduced to another one of the main characters from the book, who has yet to make it to the TV show: Tyrese! In the book Tyrese eventually becomes one of Rick’s closest friends and right hand man, but the timing of his appearance in the show is completely different from where it is in the book. Tyrese appears at first in issue 7 of the book, long before the survivors discover the prison, so it’s tough to say in the relationship between the two characters will develop in the same way. When we meet Tyrese in the show, he is with a small group of people who appear to be on the run from a herd of walkers. Almost immediately, one of the women in the group decides to serve one of the Zombies some arm-flesh carpaccio and sure enough, the zombie returns the favor by giving her a one way ticket to Undeads-ville. Zombies are just like Gremlins, as soon as you feed them, BAM, that’s when the trouble starts. Instead of doing the smart thing and immediately offing her, one of the more whiny guys in the group decides to drag her along anyway. One can only hope that he will soon be “rewarded” for the favor when the soon to be zombie girl gnaws out his throat after she turns. The group forges on until they come across a destroyed fence behind a collapsed building. To what larger complex do the fence and the pile of rubble belong? Why the prison of course, where Carl, Hershel, Beth, Carol, and Judith are hiding out! It seems the group has found a hole in the prison’s defenses, which could cause some trouble for our survivors down the road a little bit.
When we last left Rick, Michonne, Darryl, and Oscar, they were escaping a small crowd of zombies by shoving a recently deceased, mentally unstable man through the door of his cabin in the general direction of the ghouls. Upon making their escape, they finally manage to sneak into Woodbury. Once inside, they have a close call with some witless town security guy, whom they end up knocking out. Meanwhile, over where Glen and Maggie are, it seems the Governor’s decided that he needs to get rid of the two survivors before Andrea finds out, because man, his girlfriend is going to be PISSED when she finds out he pretend raped the girl who was often rude to Andrea when they both lived on Hershel’s farm. Rick and the gang find out where Glen and Maggie are being kept and show up just as the Governor’s men are taking them to be disposed of in something called the “screamer pits”. I don’t know if that’s supposed to be some kind of screaming zombie or just another name for a regular zombie, because before the young couple can be taken there, Rick and the prison crew drop a few smoke bombs then steal away Glen and Maggie before the town’s men realize what happened. Soon enough shots start being fired and the situation quickly becomes a gun battle, fought through the streets of Woodbury. The prison group takes refuge in one of the town’s abandoned buildings, but as they regroup inside their newfound shelter, they realize that Michonne isn’t with them. It would seem she’s gone directly to the Governor’s house and is now lying in wait, anticipating the moment when she can run him through with Ol’ Slicey. The whole time that the Governor and his men are searching for the intruders, Andrea has been offering to help him, but he keeps giving her side duties that would take her away from the action, because of course if she found out that all the hubbub was being caused by her former friends, the Guv would certainly have some ‘splaining to do.
Back at the prison, the remaining survivors of the original group are startled when they hear screaming coming from somewhere in the basement. Carol is on watch duty up in the tower, Beth is taking care of the baby, Judith is busy being that baby, Axel is busy creepily hitting on Beth, and Hershel hasn’t invented crutch guns yet, so the only person who can go investigate the disturbance is Carl. He makes his way through the prison towards the source (and manages to head pop a walker on the way) and eventually finds the group that was led by Tyrese. In a scene where the audience sees exactly how far Carl has come as a person by living through this zombie nightmare, as the group is about to be overrun, Carl manages to start blowing away zombies like he was playing Duck Hunt with an NES Zapper, then calmly manages to lead the group to safety. No longer is he the little kid who’s ignoring the advice to stay in the house and nor is he the frightened child who was too timid to shoot the walker that eventually killed Dale back on the farm. He’s faced horrors no kid should ever have to imagine, including having to put a bullet in his mother’s brain and he’s been forced to grow up as fast as possible. He firmly takes charge of the situation, leads the new group to safety, then cleverly gets the upper hand by locking them in behind bars when they were distracted by the death of the girl who was bitten earlier in the episode. Tyrese even earnestly says that his group should “listen to the man” when Carl starts telling them how things are going to be. He’s doing his best to be the man that Rick is, or perhaps it’s more accurate to say that he’s trying to live up to the model of the person he thought Shane was. In a way it’s good to see that he’s adapting to the world he’s inheriting, but at the same time it’s sad to think that this WAS his childhood and that his future isn’t exactly looking bright either.
Back at Woodbury, shit’s getting pretty real for Rick and the gang. The Governor and his men are on their trail and if they don’t leave soon, they’re going to end up getting killed. Glen is in rough shape from the beating that Merle had been laying on him, but he assures everyone else that he’d be able to continue on. The group tries to make a run for it, but end up getting pinned down in an alley, exchanging fire with the Governor’s men. Seeing a way over the wall not far from where they had sought shelter, the prison group sets off the last of their smoke grenades in an effort to mask their escape, but it’s not enough to conceal their exit. Darryl tells them to keep going while he lays down some covering fire and that he’d catch up to them later. In the heat of the gun fight, we learn that Rick may not be as insanity free as we believed him to be. He sees Shane approaching him with a shotgun drawn and Rick completely freezes up. The man of course isn’t Shane, so Rick’s moment of hesitation allows Faux-Shane an opportunity to get a shot off and he ends up shooting Oscar in the stomach, killing him. Rick eventually comes to his senses and kills the man, but not before Rick’s insanity got one of his people killed. Rick and the others make it over the wall and they take cover nearby hoping that Darryl and Michonne will show up. Back inside the gates, Michonne has been snooping around the Gov’s place and ends up his room with aquariums full of zombie heads, as well as his zombie daughter Penny. Upon removing Penny’s hood, Michonne discovers that the girl is a zombie and is about to kill her when suddenly the Governor shows up and begins pleading for Michonne to stop. Understandably, the Governor would be a little surprised to see her, as Merle told him that he had beheaded Michonne already. Michonne holds back and begins to use the girl as cover, but eventually she plunges Ol’ Slicey right through the back of Penny’s head, instantly killing her. The two then begin to tussle which results in the head tanks coming crashing down, spilling zombie heads and glass everywhere. In the ensuing melee, Michonne violently plunges a shard of glass into the Governor’s eye, but before she can finish him off, Andrea shows up and pulls a gun on Michonne. There’s a moment of tension between the two, but Andrea let’s her go. Michonne eventually escapes and makes it back to the rendezvous point with Rick, Glen, and Maggie. When she arrives, Rick flips out, then begins blaming her for Oscar’s death and for Darryl being missing. In actuality, I think Rick blames himself for these things but he’s taking out his anger on Michonne. If he hadn’t hesitated, then Faux-Shane never would have been able to shoot Oscar. Rick tells her to get lost, but Michonne points out that with Glen hurt and no Darryl or Oscar, he needs to keep her around; to which, Rick begrudgingly agrees. Back inside the Governor gets himself patched up and with Andrea at his side, addresses the assembled people of Woodbury. He tells them that he failed to keep his promise to keep them all safe, but also that someone in the town has betrayed him and he has figured out who that person is. The Governor announces that the traitorous bastard is none other than MERLE! A shocked Merle of course denies it (and for once he’s actually innocent), but the Guv isn’t having it. He decrees that as punishment, Merle must fight to the death the only one of the intruders that was caught, who just so happens to be Merle’s own brother: DARRYL! WHHOOOOOOOOOOO WHEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!! Them Dixon Boys sure stirred up an armadillo’s nest full a’ trouble this time and boy are they gonna need the General Lee to get them out of it!
This is of course where the episode ends; with the audience left to wonder until February what’s going to happen to everyone’s favorite redneck brothers. Will Rick, Glen, Maggie, and Michonne make it back to the prison or will the Governor’s men catch up with them? What about Tyrese and the others? They’re already scheming to get their hands on the prison, how will that play out once all the resident badasses return? And most importantly, is it still possible to get a quality glass eye in a post-apocalyptic world? That’s all the Walking Dead and Zombie Round-Up we’ve gor for 2012. Thanks for reading and check back with us after The Walking Dead starts up again on February 10th, 2013!
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