The Walking Dead Zombie Round-Up: Arrow On the Doorpost
Happy Monday Evil Geeks! The Sunday night zombie fest of The Walking Dead has come and gone and we’re all counting down to the next episode. Last week’s episode “Clear” took a break from the ongoing battle between the folks at the prison vs. the town of Woodbury, but the previews for this weeks show promised us a face to face meeting between Rick and the Governor. Would these newly minted enemies be able to play nice and work things out for the good of all of the people in both locations or would they just make matters worse? Let’s find out and talk about some zombies, shall we?
Last week’s episode was a stand-out not only because of the great story writing, but also because of the great performances given by the actors involved. This week’s episode continues that trend on with the story putting Rick between a violent rock and morally grey hard place; then backing that up with solid acting from not only Rick and the Governor, but also from Michael Rooker’s Merle. The bulk of the episode focuses on a meeting that had been arranged between Rick and the Governor. Andrea had set up the get together between the leaders of the Prison and Woodbury, in hopes of being able to avoid the now surely impending bloodbath. Rick appears to have shown up in good faith with the intention of hammering out a compromise, but it’s clear from the get-go that the Governor has no intention of bargaining, as evidenced by his hidden pistol taped to the meeting table. Also, upon meeting face to face, it’s revealed that Rick knew the Governor pre-apocalypse, when he was just known as Phillip Blake, the town drunk. Before the zombies began, it sounds like Phil had an intoxicated run-in with the Grimes Family lawn. I couldn’t help but wonder if this fact is why the Governor is so unwilling to strike a deal with Rick; he’s been put at a disadvantage because of Rick knowing his true identity, so now he wants to prove he’s the more powerful man. Stoking his ego seems to be the only reason the Governor is unwilling to bargain, even though clearly the most ideal outcome of the situation would be for each side to agree to stay out of the others business from now on and call a truce to avoid a war. After the attack on Woodbury, the Governor’s lost face (no pun intended), so the only thing on his mind is getting an eye for an eye (okay, that one was definitely intended).
While Phil and Rick are having it out while boozing it up, Darryl and Hershel are waiting outside with Martinez, Milton and Andrea. Andrea had tried to be the mediator at the meeting but the Governor eventually kicked her out, telling her the he wanted to speak to Rick alone. Feeling spurned by the man she’s been sleeping with, Andrea heads outside to wait with the others. Relations between the two groups are predictably touchy, but after some interactions common ground can be seen them. At first Darryl and Martinez are at odds, almost coming to blows at one point, but after they team up to eliminate some walkers encroaching on the meeting area, the two men get to talking and sharing a smoke break. At first I was kind of grossed out by the fact that they were smoking cigarettes they pilfered from a corpse, but when you think about it, can being carried around by a dead guy make them any more unhealthy than they already are? While Darryl and Martinez bond somewhat, they both acknowledge the fact that this meeting won’t solve anything and that one of them will most likely have to kill the other. Milton and Hershel appear to get along too, but there are still some defenses up between them. While discussing the logistics of the amputation of Hershel’s leg, Milton asks to see the stump in case he needs to perform a similar surgery for someone in Woodbury. Hershel deflects the request with a bit of humor by making Milton think he’s asking too personal a question. However as the viewers know, the real reason he didn’t want Milton to see the stump is because that’s where Hershel keeps his hidden gun. The bonding between the groups is interesting, because it brings up the possibility that the Governor’s Lieutenants recognize that the people at the prison are nothing more than normal people looking to survive, just like them. The Governor clearly isn’t interested in peace, so are his underlings willing to circumvent his command in order to avoid an unnecessary fight?
Andrea is still on the fence with her allegiances, even after she finds out that the Governor had done some foul, rapey things to Maggie while she was held captive by his men. Andrea tells Hershel that she’s going to return to the Prison with the prison group,, but in the end she leaves with the Woodbury group. Did she do that because she’s afraid to leave the comfort of Woodbury, or is she planning to finally carry out the plan that Carol had suggested to her when she visited the prison.
Speaking of the prison, Glen continues to prove he’s not exactly leadership material by getting into an altercation with Merle, from which he needed Beth to bail his ass out, and by banging Maggie when he should be keeping watch on the explosive Merle situation which he just walked away from. Merle isn’t content to sit around doing nothing while his brother Darryl is walking into what Merle thinks is a trap. Merle wants to lead of group to the meeting spot to kill the Governor while they have the element of surprise. When Merle defies Glen by trying to leave, you can really see it’s because he’s genuinely concerned about his brother, not just testing Glen’s authority. Merle makes his case, and even though he’s still the person you really hate, you can understand where he’s coming from. Michael Rooker does such an amazing job making the audience sympathize this loathsome, vile person. Making him a regular cast member was SUCH a great move on behalf of the makers of the show, I really hope he’ll be with us for a while. Merle tries to recruit Michonne to his cause and it seems like she’s going to go along with it, but ultimately tells him that she doesn’t want to be responsible if one of the prison people is killed. Michonne knows that she’s just barely earned her place at the prison and isn’t willing to risk losing that.
So, about that moral grey area I mentioned earlier in the post; the Governor does offer Rick one possibility for avoiding the war. If Rick hands Michonne over to him, the Governor is willing to let the prison people live in peace. Personally I think if this question was asked of Rick before last week’s encounter with Morgan, he wouldn’t have hesitated to hand over Michonne. I think Rick realized what an asset she is though and even though at the end of the episode he’s pondering what he’s going to do, he will eventually decide to protect Michonne as one of his people. Rick knows that he’s not going to be able to survive alone and chances are the Governor will just kill them all anyone once he gets Michonne, so he’s not going to let a valuable ally like Michonne slip away.
At the end of the episode, the battle lines have been drawn and everyone’s headed straight into a war. The Governor offers Rick a way out, but he also tells Martinez to surround the meeting place with men when they go to get Rick’s response in two days, then kill everyone. Rick seems to know full well that the Governor’s up to something, so he’s probably not going to walk into the next meeting without at least a few tricks up his sleeve too. What about Andrea? Is she finally ready to give up on the Governor or even ready to kill him while he sleeps? There’s three episodes left in the season and that’s plenty of time for all sorts of crazy stuff to happen! Check back here every Monday morning for your weekly Zombie Round-Up!
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