Last week on The Walking Dead, Andrew Lincoln and Lennie James proved that two people talking in a room in the midst of the zombie apocalypse could be harrowing, gripping drama; this week, two people talking in a room reminded me too much of season 2, in which various characters would sit around and talk about an issue, then talk about it some more, and then come back for another discussion. Still, there were some things I enjoyed about the episode, including having some of the prison group connect with the Woodbury-ites, and seeing Merle be Merle, which is always a treat.
We open with Daryl, Rick, and Hershel arriving for a parlay with the Governor in an old warehouse amidst a bunch of oil drums that provide the perfect cover for an ambush.
The Governor is already at the warehouse as Rick walks in; he tries to take credit for not killing everyone at the prison when he had the chance and takes off his holster to show that he’s negotiating in “good faith.” I do not think those words mean what the Governor thinks they mean. Rick wisely holds onto his weapon, because a different camera angle reveals that the Governor has already placed a pistol under the table. I’m sure the instant Rick disarmed, the Governor would have killed him.
Outside, Daryl and Hershel talk about how the situation feels weird just as the Governor’s henchpersons (and Andrea) show up. Daryl hilariously refers to Milton as the Governor’s butler, and then he and Martinez get in each other’s faces before Hershel defuses the situation.
At the prison, everyone is divvying up the enormous amount of weaponry that Rick, Michonne, and Carl brought back from their foray last week. Merle suggests that they take some of those weapons and go and kill the Governor, since they know where he is. Glenn says that they’re staying put; it’s clear that Merle hates taking orders from Glenn, especially when he feels that he needs to protect Daryl. I really think Merle’s love and protectiveness of Daryl is his most endearing quality. Or his only endearing quality, really.
At the parlay, Rick suggests a sort of North Korea/South Korea situation, with Woodbury taking one side of some river, and the prison people taking the other side. The Governor says he just wants Rick’s surrender, and asks Andrea to step outside. Andrea was clearly not expecting to be shut out of the peace talks she brokered, and hesitates until Rick says that he came to talk to the Governor.
After Andrea leaves, Rick pokes holes in the Governor’s pretensions to leadership and his attempts to blame Merle for everything that happened to Glenn and Maggie while completely ignoring both his own sexual assault of Maggie and the fact that Merle reported to the Governor, which means the Governor is responsible for Merle’s actions. He tells the Governor that he’s the “town drunk” who came and peed on the prison lawn. I think that’s understating it a bit, since poor Axel got killed during that particular pissing contest.
The Governor gets his own shots in at Rick, alluding to the question of Judith’s paternity. I guess Andrea’s pillow talk consisted of gossip about Rick’s group, since the Governor seems to know all about Lori’s dalliance with Shane.
Outside, Milton tries to talk to Daryl about his apocalyptic experiences because he’s trying to record the history of the zombie apocalypse. Daryl is bemused and Martinez is annoyed by Milton’s fraternizing with the prison people. Daryl and Martinez are about to get into each other’s faces when some zombies arrive. Martinez and Daryl do this kind of super-polite-but-not-really thing about who gets to kill the zombies first until Andrea, with an exasperated sigh, walks in and kills the first one with her knife. Heh! I remember why I like Andrea so much. Then Martinez and Daryl show off for each other with zombie kills, until Daryl takes out one zombie with an arrow and the next with a knife-throw before Martinez can bash it with his bat. Daryl Dixon, winner and still champion!
Daryl finds a pack of cigarettes on one of the zombies and offers one to Martinez, who says he prefers menthols. “Douchebag!” Daryl mutters, but then he and Martinez bond a little bit. Martinez says that his wife and kids were killed and Daryl says he’s sorry. Now I’m waiting for Martinez to die, since he had some dialogue! Both Daryl and Martinez acknowledge that the Governor and Rick aren’t really going to work anything out, but for the moment they enjoy their cigarettes together.
Meanwhile, Milton quizzes Hershel on how he lost his leg and asks if he can see the stump. “I’m not showing you my leg,” Hershel tells him. “I just met you. At least buy me a drink first.” Hee! I feel like Hershel and Marshal Art Mullen from Justified would get along really well; they’re both sassy but caring older men who have to deal with the vagaries of their gifted but troubled proteges.
The Governor tries some more of his persuasive mojo on the skeptical Rick, starting in on a story about how his wife died before the apocalypse. Rick looks like he’s thinking what I’m thinking, which is that the Governor sure loves the sound of his own voice. The Governor offers Rick a whiskey, and I tense up because I’m sure it’s poisoned. (If the Governor can’t find iocaine powder, I’m told it’s pretty easy to poison people with lily-of-the-valley. Just ask Walter White!) SPOILER: The whiskey is not poisoned.
At the prison, Glenn finishes building a cage that will hold a sniper but keep zombies out. Inside, Merle packs a bag of weapons to go after Daryl; Maggie tells him that if Merle is going to live with them, it has to be on their terms. Merle says that it’s his brother out there, and when Glenn comes in and tries to stop Merle from leaving, he tries to play on Glenn’s insecurities about Maggie’s sexual assault at the hands of the Governor. I guess Merle just likes to play dirty. He and Glenn get into a fistfight, Maggie jumps on Merle’s back and puts him in a choke hold, Michonne tries to restrain Maggie, and the whole mess ends with Beth firing a pistol into the ceiling. It was fun while it lasted but turns out to be all sound and fury.
Hershel and Andrea talk, with Andrea finally admitting that she doesn’t know what she’s doing, but she feels she has to do something. She also asks Hershel about what happened to Maggie; Hershel will only say that the Governor is “a sick man.” Andrea doesn’t want to go back to Woodbury, and Hershel tells her “we’re family, you belong with us, but if you join us, it’s settled.”
Apparently, Governor has someone watching the prison because he reveals that he knows Rick brought back a bunch of weapons. The Governor offers to walk away if Rick gives him Michonne. (Dear Rick, The Governor is untrustworthy. Signed, Former Owners of Heads in Aquariums.)
Merle tries to get Michonne to join in his “kill the Governor/save Daryl” plan. He tells her that the people in the prison are strong and good fighters, but they aren’t killers. Though she’s tempted for a moment, Michonne refuses him. Aww, poor Merle, no one will join him on his assassination vacation!
Glenn watches the Walkers from the cage he built earlier, and Maggie comes out to join him. Glenn takes this opportunity to apologize to Maggie for being an ass about her Woodbury trauma, and Maggie tells him that she loves him. They start making out, which seems to excite the zombies. Glenn tells Maggie that he’s uncomfortable as the object of the Zombie Gaze, so she pulls him inside and nakedness ensues. I’m all in favor of their sexual healing, but on the other hand, shouldn’t someone be keeping watch?
Meanwhile, Rick and the Governor are still continuing their interminable tete-a-tete. Rick says the vendetta against Michonne seems a bit beneath the Governor and his lofty aspirations. The Governor insists on an eye for an eye (well, technically a Michonne for an eye); he tells Rick that he’ll leave the rest of the prison people alone if he gets Michonne and gives Rick two days to decide.
Rick and the Governor finally exit and everyone gets into their own transportation. Andrea wearily chooses the Woodbury jeep instead of the mint-green prison car. Meanwhile, I question why Daryl is still riding that motorcycle. Sure, it looks cool, but he has to drive through a “cordon unsanitaire” of zombies to get back to the prison, though they seem strangely unmoved by the arrival of fresh meat atop a noisy vehicle.
In Woodbury, the Governor reveals that he’s the lying snake we always knew he was. He plans to kill Michonne, Rick and whoever else shows up to deliver Michonne to him. He claims this is “the best way to avoid a slaughter.”
Milton, fortified by his encounter with the awesome Hershel, points out that “that is a slaughter.”
“Not at our end,” the Governor tells him smugly.
When Andrea asks what the terms he settled with Rick were, the Governor smiles (smugly) and doesn’t answer. I think Andrea can guess things don’t bode well for her former friends.
At the prison, Rick tells everyone that the Governor wants them all dead. “We’re going to war,” he says, ignoring everyone’s worried glances.
Rick takes a moment to go outside, and Hershel follows him. Rick tells Hershel about the Governor’s demand for Michonne’s head. “He’ll kill her,” Hershel says, horrified, and points out all the people Michonne has saved. Rick agrees that the Governor will kill Michonne and “then kill us anyway.” (Dear Rick, The Governor is untrustworthy. Signed, Former Owners of Heads in Aquariums.)
“But what if he doesn’t?” Rick asks Hershel whether he’s willing to set his daughters’ lives against that of Michonne. He and Hershel gaze off into the zombie-filled distance and think about their moral dilemma.
Regina Thorne is an avid reader of just about everything, an aspiring writer, a lover of old movies and current TV shows, and a hopeless romantic.