We open with Merle and three other members of the Woodbury Secret Police tracking Michonne. She’s left them a Bitergram (TM Merle) saying “Go Back!” Clearly, the entire “you’re welcome to leave any time you want” thing was just a charade for Andrea’s benefit. Michonne doesn’t want to play games, so she jumps out from behind a tree and kills two henchmen before anyone can react. Merle shoots at her, and may have hit her, but I’d say this round goes to Michonne.
In the prison, Rick is still conversing with the person who called him at the end of the last episode. A woman’s voice comes through the phone telling Rick that she’s far away, somewhere safe. Rick tells her that he has a son and a newborn and that he needs somewhere to bring them. The woman says she’ll call back in two hours.
This gives Rick a chance to take a shower and put on some clean clothes. He pops into the mess where the others are eating, and takes a state of the prison report from Daryl and Glenn. Herschel wants to talk to Rick about his psychological trauma but Rick takes off before any personal discussions can happen.
Speaking of psychological trauma, Merle engages in some tough love (well, he’s tough, anyway!) with his remaining henchperson, Neal Gargulio (whose last name Merle is unable to pronounce.) They stab their erstwhile comrades in the head so they don’t turn.
In Woodbury, Andrea and the Governor continue their lengthy, purposeless conversation. Despite her discomfort with Woodbury’s version of ultra fighting, she wants to stay and asks to contribute to the Woodbury commonweal. The Governor tries to put her on food distribution. (I guess Woodbury is just like Herschel’s farm, where the men were men and the women did lots of laundry.) Andrea says she’s a good shot and she wants to be on guard duty, so the Governor tells her she can learn how to shoot a bow and arrow from an expert.
Andrea’s trainer is a young lady who was clearly a big Hunger Games fan, because she has a sweet bow and arrow set-up. She and Andrea bond over killing their nearest and dearest (in the girl’s case, her father, the owner of the bow). The two spot a walker on the other side of the wall, and Woodbury’s Katniss Everdeen takes two shots, both of which miss by a mile. I guess she didn’t get the owner’s manual with her bow. Andrea is annoyed, and jumps over the wall to stab the zombie in the face. Go Andrea! The girl is horrified at Andrea’s rule-breaking and asks what’s wrong with her. Nothing yet, but she’s about to hook up with the Governor, so plenty to come!
Rick has returned to his telephonic vigil, and sure enough, the phone rings again. This time, there’s a man on the line. A man who asks Rick if he’s killed anyone and if so, how many people he’s killed. This is like the worst phone interview ever! Rick answers truthfully, and then the man asks how Rick lost his wife. When Rick says he doesn’t want to talk about it, the guy hangs up.
Herschel interrupts Rick’s vigil by the phone with an anecdote about how he still feels his phantom leg even though it’s gone, before he talks about Lori. I see what you did there! Rick tells Herschel about the mysterious phone calls, and Herschel lifts the telephone to check if Rick is going crazy or maybe there really is someone out there. Rick is clearly going crazy, and Herschel volunteers to sit there with Rick until the next callback. Instead, Rick wants to be alone, and Herschel respects that.
In the woods near Woodbury, Merle, the remaining henchman Neal, and Michonne are engaged in an all-out fight to the pain until they are interrupted by Walkers. Michonne slashes her Walker in the belly with her sword, only to have a giant, disgusting stew of Walker guts spill all over her. Ewww! Michonne takes advantage of the turmoil to escape but she’s definitely wounded in the leg. Uh oh! I hope none of that infected zombie blood and guts got into her open wound.
At the prison, Daryl, Oscar, and Carl are clearing out zombies; ignoring the fate of his friend Big Tiny, Oscar wanders away so Daryl and Carl can share a bonding moment over the grisly deaths of their mothers. Daryl’s mother apparently like wine and smoking in bed, a deadly and combustible combination. When Daryl was a little boy out playing with his friends one day, Mama Dixon burned the house down with her inside it. “It didn’t seem real,” Daryl tells Carl. Carl tells Daryl that he shot his mother in the head while she was unconscious from the blood loss of the C-section that delivered Carl’s little sister and that it felt totally real. Carl wins the Most Depressing Loss of a Parent storytime. “Sorry about your mom,” Daryl tells Carl. “Sorry about yours,” Carl replies. Awww! How’s that for some awkward pseudo-dad-and-son bonding?
Speaking of awkward, or just plain creepy, parental relationships, the Governor is busy adding to his pencil marks of “Days Since My Daughter Penny Was Zombified” chart when Andrea comes in to see the principal. Thanks to her impulsive actions, the Governor demotes her from guarding the wall (if he ever had any intention whatsoever of letting her be a guard in the first place, which I highly doubt). For some reason, being shamed like a naughty schoolgirl makes Andrea confess that actually, she liked the fights orchestrated by the Governor, but she didn’t like that she liked them. Then she and the Governor flirt for a little bit. I wonder how long it will be before the Governor shows her his room full of heads.
Back in the woods, Merle decides that he’s had enough of following Michonne into Walker-infested territory. He tells Henchman Neal that Michonne is as good as dead, given that she’s wounded and wandering around amidst a whole bunch of zombies. Merle says that they should lie to the Governor, telling him that they did indeed kill Michonne, but Neal is a good little soldier and doesn’t want to lie to his boss. So Merle shoots him in the head.
Meanwhile, Michonne’s bath in zombie guts is paying off big time because despite her wound, and the fact that the woods are alive with the sound of shuffling, none of the zombies is paying the slightest bit of attention to her.
At the prison, Rick gets another phone call, this time from a different woman, who tells him “You should talk about it, Rick!” Rick can’t figure out how she knows his name. Maybe because you are actually talking to yourself in your head, Rick!
Michonne limps toward the center of a small town, hiding behind an abandoned car when she hears someone drive up. Maggie and Glenn get out of the car and engage in a little flirting and kissing and conveniently for the eavesdropping Michonne, mention that they’re living at “the prison.”
Speaking of kissing, Andrea and the Governor are doing some in the Governor’s lovely flower garden. I guess these are the visible perks of absolute power (as opposed to the invisible aquariums full of heads).
Maggie and Glenn leave the store, having hit the baby food and ammo jackpot. Maggie sweetly asks Glenn to pick up a little duck toy for the newest member of the Grimes family. Awww! And then it all goes to hell, because Merle pops up behind them like an evil version of Edward Scissorhands. There’s a short standoff while Glenn and Merle exchange pleasantries, and by “pleasantries” I mean that Glenn refuses to take Merle to Daryl and instead suggests that Merle wait for him and Maggie to bring Daryl back to Merle. Somehow, Merle gets the drop on Maggie, and forces Glenn to drive off toward Woodbury. Michonne is too sick to intervene.
Back at the prison, Otis, Carl, and Daryl are still clearing out zombies. As a bonus, Otis finds a pair of slippers and mentions that they’re great for relaxing at the end of the day. I love him already. A zombie attacks, and Daryl and Otis both shoot at it with bow and bullet. Daryl finds Carol’s knife embedded in the zombie’s neck.
Rick still waits by the phone, which rings again. This time, he recognizes that it’s Lori on the other end. So he is going crazy. Lori tells him that he was talking to Amy, Jim, and Jacqui before, and it’s clear that the “safe” place Rick has hallucinated is death. This is so incredibly sad! Rick tells Lori that he tried to protect her and his family, but “I couldn’t put it back together … I made a deal with myself; I would keep you alive; I’d find a place; I would fix that; and then I couldn’t open that door. I couldn’t risk it; I thought there’d be time. There’s never time … but I loved you. I love you.” (Andrew Lincoln has just been spectacular in the last couple of episodes!) Finally, Lori tells Rick that they have a baby and Carl to look after, and her voice fades into static as Rick comes back to himself.
From the sublime to the distasteful … In Woodbury, Andrea’s bedtime tryst with the Governor is interrupted by Merle, who tells the Governor that, although all the henchmen are dead, he has killed Michonne. The Governor, ever mindful of his hobby, asks whether Merle retrieved Michonne’s head and sword, and Merle, who is quite good at barefaced lying, explains that although they lost the Governor’s coveted trophies during the confusion, he did capture Glenn and his “pretty little girlfriend,” both of whom know Andrea. I’m desperately hoping that this is a setup for Andrea eventually helping Glenn and Maggie to escape from Woodbury, because this setup is filling me with generalized anxiety and outright fear for their safety.
Rick, now restored to a tenuous grip on sanity, walks out into the courtyard where Herschel, Beth, and Carl are giving the baby her daily airing. Rick comes over and takes the baby from Herschel, the first time he’s held her. She’s very cute, but the biggest newborn I’ve ever seen!
In the depths of the prison, Daryl is stabbing the ground with Carol’s knife, steeling himself (sorry for the pun) to go in and kill Walker Carol, whom he thinks is behind a door that he and the others noticed earlier. After some pacing, wall-punching, and general angst, he pulls open the door and finds Carol, who is alive, albeit too traumatized (and maybe dehydrated) to speak. Daryl scoops her into his arms and carries her out. With that image, I’m convinced that they’re definitely going the route of rhyming Carol-Daryl romance. I’m not sure how I feel about that!!
Outside, Rick is still holding his baby, until he spots something in the distance. Near the outer fence where the zombies congregate stands Michonne, holding the shopping basket full of baby supplies. I cannot WAIT for next week!!!
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.