We open with Merle taunting and torturing Glenn, while Maggie listens from the other side of a thin metal partition. (I just want to take a moment to admire Maggie’s hair here—she evidently found the mother lode of great conditioner just before the apocalypse!) Merle demands to know where “the Sheriff” is and Glenn headbutts Merle when he gets a chance, which earns him a beating from Merle. Pick on someone who can fight back, Merle!
At the prison, Michonne stares wistfully inside the fence at Rick, while zombies snarl and slaver around her. One of the zombies is more clever than the rest or smells the fresh blood from her leg wound and the zombies realize Michonne isn’t one of them. Carl asks his father whether they should help, and Rick says nothing, but just watches the unequal fight of Michonne versus many, many zombies. Michonne falls and just as she’s about to be Thanksgiving dinner for the walking dead, Carl shoots the nearest one in the head, forcing Rick to act as well. He and Carl rush out to get Michonne and Carl thinks to retrieve the shopping basket as well.
Rick, still cautious, says that they can’t put Michonne in the cell block and pushes her sword away. He asks Michonne who she is, but she’s either too suspicious or too far gone to answer. Rick tells Michonne she’ll be safe, and that they’ll treat her leg and she snarls that she didn’t ask for their help. I think Woodbury made Michonne a little suspicious.
Daryl interrupts the glare-o-thon by getting Rick to come and see who he found still alive. Carol and Rick share a hug and then Carol sees the baby, and realizes what that means and tells Rick that she’s sorry. Awwww! Michonne looks on this tender scene with an enigmatic expression.
In Woodbury, Andrea is shimmying into her trousers when the Governor is interrupted by the nerdy scientist who says that Mr. Coleman is about to die. The Governor tells Andrea he has a special project for her.
Rick, Daryl, and Herschel interrogate Michonne, who tells them that she saw Glenn and Maggie kidnapped by the guy who shot her. When Michonne doesn’t respond to Rick’s questions fast enough, he grabs Michonne’s wounded leg. Ouch! There’s a little bit of posturing and glowering and a threat from Daryl to shoot Andrea with his crossbow, but Rick manages to defuse the situation and Michonne provides some information about Woodbury to the group.
At first I was wondering why Michonne didn’t provide a little more information to Rick, such as Merle’s identity or the fact that Andrea is also in Woodbury. But in retrospect this kind of makes sense to me; Michonne is naturally taciturn and, of course, she knows Merle’s brother is one of the men at the prison and has no idea whether he shares Merle’s personality. Plus, I think Michonne still wants to rescue Andrea for some reason and these people have, as far as she knows, abandoned Andrea once already.
Speaking of Merle’s unpleasant personality, he continues to torture Glenn, this time with the idea that he’s deluding himself that Rick is coming to get him. Glenn tries to make his group seem more intimidating by listing the names of people who’ve died since Merle was last part of the group. Unfortunately, Glenn happens to mention Andrea which undermines his credibility.
In the prison, Herschel fixes up Michonne’s leg while the others debate whether they can trust Michonne. Everyone but Carol volunteers to go get Maggie and Glenn back from Woodbury; in the end the group consists of Rick, Daryl, Oscar, and Michonne. I really like Oscar and I hope he is going to come back from this mission.
Rick is finally with it enough to pay heed to Carl’s trauma regarding Lori as well as the fact that his newborn doesn’t have a name. Carl suggests they name her after his third-grade teacher, Judith Muller. Rick is all “fine, sounds good!” He also entrusts Carl with locking everyone in their cells if things go pear-shaped on this rescue mission. Daryl tells Carol to stay safe, and the rescue party drives away.
In Woodbury, the Governor brings Andrea to Milton the Nerdy Scientist and Mr. Coleman. Mr. Coleman is dying but has volunteered to participate in some kind of experiment.
Elsewhere, Merle is experimenting with new forms of cruelty. He releases a zombie into the room where Glenn is duct-taped to a chair. Somehow, Glenn manages to fight off the zombie thanks to a bunch of convenient rusty bedsprings and broken chair legs. Who knew Glenn was such a badass?
Milton’s experiment apparently involves seeing whether Mr. Coleman’s consciousness and memories survive his reanimation as a zombie. Andrea emphatically says that they don’t, but Milton doesn’t believe her. It turns out that Milton has somehow managed to have almost no contact with anyone who’s been zombified.
Outside Glenn and Maggie’s cells, the Governor, Merle and another henchperson discuss the situation. Henchperson asks why Merle tried to kill Glenn via zombie bite, because they’ll need the prisoners for leverage if Rick and the others come for them. The Governor accepts this logic, but I do not! I hate to nitpick what was a really great episode, but this totally bothers me. If Michonne hadn’t shown up at the prison, Rick et al. would simply have assumed that Glenn and Maggie were hurt and/or killed and/or zombified, and he certainly wouldn’t have known where Woodbury was. So why would the Governor think Rick would assume they were in Woodbury unless he’s been watching this episode and knows Michonne is alive and told Rick where to go.
Moreover, why does the Governor think he needs leverage? This is the guy who butchered the National Guardsmen a couple of episodes ago so he could get their stuff. Why doesn’t he just have two more heads in his aquarium (complete with Maggie’s lovely hair!) and be prepared to lie his ass off if Rick does show up, which logically he wouldn’t.
Moving on … Merle is superseded in Maggie interrogation duty by the Governor. And oh how creepy this scene turns out to be. The Governor’s oily charm fails to move Maggie so he makes her strip and threatens her with rape. This was probably the creepiest and most disturbing moment on a show that regularly features people being eaten alive. Maggie doesn’t break, telling the Governor to do what he’s going to do and then go to hell. She’s even more badass than Glenn! They make an awesome couple.
Rick, Michonne, Daryl, and Otis pull up and park about a mile out of Woodbury. Rick takes the opportunity to thank Daryl for taking care of the baby while he was having a psychotic break. “It’s what we do!” Daryl assures him. As they make their way through the woods, they’re attacked by a pack of zombies in overwhelming numbers. I feel like it would be beneficial for Daryl, Oscar, and Michonne to wear longer sleeves. Or duct tape on their arms.
They take refuge in a fortuitously placed cabin that reeks of the decomposing body of a dog. Under a quilt on the bed, there’s a live human being who apparently has slept through the entire zombie apocalypse because he tells Rick he’s going to call the cops. Rick’s attempt to talk the guy down fails, and he fires off a round with a shotgun. An exasperated Michonne takes him down, and gives Rick a ferocious glower for dessert. Rick and Daryl toss the fresh corpse out to the waiting zombie hordes.
And this is my second nitpick with the episode. I understand that we’re meant to see the gang as less morally pure and more kill-or-be-killed now. (In season 2, no doubt we would have had a lengthy debate about the morality of killing the guy who was agitating the horde of zombies outside.) I actually do feel sorry for the poor dude who was minding his own business, chilling out with his dead dog’s corpse, and far off the zombie radar until Rick et al. showed up. But I’m hard-pressed to understand how he managed to a) live with his dead, extremely stinky dog; and b) avoid all knowledge of what was going on outside. He’s a hermit with no sense of smell and a large supply of canned goods so he never had to leave the cabin in more than a year? This makes very little sense!
Back in Woodbury, Mr. Coleman wakes up. Milton argues that they need to remove the restraints on the ex-Mr. Coleman so he can signal if he remembers anything. Andrea was, of course, right and Mr. Coleman lunges for Milton the instant the restraints are removed. Oops!
In Glenn’s cell, the Governor brings in a half-naked Maggie and threatens to shoot Glenn if she doesn’t give him the information he wants. Merle looks impressed when Maggie says that ten people cleared the whole prison. Maggie is crying and the Governor pulls her into a hug to comfort her while smirking at Glenn. Ugh! Why do I feel like his richly deserved death won’t happen until the end of this season?
The Governor’s faith in Merle’s abilities is shaken by Maggie’s information that a group of ten people was able to do something Merle said couldn’t be done. The Governor questions Merle’s loyalties as the camera pans away to Daryl and his group approaching the gates of Woodbury. He orders Merle and Henchperson 2 to get a small group to go to the prison. Uh oh!
Andrea comes back to the Governor’s place, and pours herself a good stiff drink of the Governor’s Scotch. The Governor asks if Milton found what he was looking for; Andrea, who doesn’t know why this question is so important to the Governor, has tears in her eyes as she says “No!” The Governor comforts her in the exact same way that he “comforted” Maggie.
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.