“All this time, running from walkers…. You forget what people do. Have always done.”
Well, that sure as hell was a way to go out on a hiatus and leave us wanting more. Let’s get right to our support group, shall we?
A walker appears in the woods as it begins to rain and I want to point out that it is AMAZING to me that this lady walker (a) has multiple layers on and they are all in place on her shoulders and (b) has both shoes on in the mud. I say this because Andrea can barely keep her shoulders covered, and she presumably cares about keeping clothes on when not boning Gov. Liam Neeson.
A woman’s scream pierces the gloom, and I swear I thought it was a trap set out by the Woodbury/Ten Penny Towers folks to trap Michonne and others. That would be really smart, by the way.
Protip: To truly survive in the Latter Days of Zombie Chompers on This Our Shared Earth, they are going to need to be eradicated. Sure, when someone dies they’re going to instantly be resurrected as someone that wants to kill you, but a system can be set in place for “hospice care.” Every time a Walker is engaged, it should be put down, period.
We see a bad ass dude (Chad Coleman from The Wire!) running through and braining walkers with a hammer. Well, it’s not elegant but it’s effective. He meets up with a woman, Sasha, who is trying to lead a small family – mother, father, teen son – through the woods through a bunch of Walkers. They’ve not had a safe place in a long time, from the looks of them. A Walker bites the mom and these people aren’t hard enough to get that they need to throw her to the Walkers and use that time to get away clean.
Instead, there’s a lot of scared little boy grumblings, and the teen boy gets upset, too. (BOOM. Sorry, Dad, but you have to make hard decisions, where the hell have you been this past year?) They run through the woods and come up on a crumbled down, burned out brick edifice and evidently this is the backside of the massive prison that our heroes are holed up in. The whole prison isn’t secure, apparently, and this is a back way in to the “catacombs.” It’s a pretty bad ass mat shot of them crawling over rubble as a flock of birds take off from another roofline.
Andrea styles her hair because she knows what’s important in End Times: looking like a gee dee lady, that’s what. Speaking of ladies, she notices the framed picture of Gov’s family and how she and his wife have similar hair dids. Is she jealous? Just contemplative? I don’t know what this particular bland smile means. The Gov comes in happy to see that Woodbury is growing on her like moss on a sloth’s back. Andrea leaves to help with a cremation and the Gov goes to watch a little TV.
His Laz-y-Boy recliner is in front of his head-tanks, but he’s more interested in the metal grate in front of him. That’s where he keeps his money. Wait, his Penny. We know this because it’s quiet for a moment, then she comes barreling out with her pretty dress on and her pretty hood and chain. I love the quiet gasping and mewling from the dark, like, maybe she’s sad and needs a cuddle?
Oh, she wants to cuddle. She wants to cuddle your fresh meat in her tum-tum. Daddy gets mad that she doesn’t want Proper Huggles and asks her to “Look at me, please,” before screaming, “LOOK AT ME!” Um, she’s a bit enchanted with that bowl of meat on the sideboard, Daddy, okay? Maybe you shouldn’t have brought out a wad of sirloin before having a lady-chat with your baby girl. Well, she’s grounded for being disrespectful, so no scalp grooming today, just a hood and the dark while she thinks about what she’s done.
Glenn and Maggie, bloodied and exhausted, huddle together looking for comfort. Maggie assures Glenn that the Gov only was slimy and intimidating to her, nothing physical. Glenn finds some strength down deep because he is seriously awesome, stands, and rips the arm off the Walker he killed. A stomp here, a rip there, and he’s yoinked out the ulna and radial bones to be weapons on the fly. Seriously, he’s awesome.
This is what happens when you read comic books, kids: you get important life skills.
Michonne has led Rick, Daryl and T-Dog 2.0 (like it’s going to matter that he’s named Oscar, please) to the wall, which is heavily armed. She melts away to find another opening, pissing Rick off – maybe you should put a bell on that kitty? – while Daryl and Rick decide how best to streamline their gear and get inside.
The Gov and Merle talk about the intel Maggie gave them about the prison. Does the Gov want to move there? Hell, no! He wants the resources, wants that group dead, and wants to move Walkers into prison cells. Not a bad idea, but obviously I want to see the Gov dead by Michonne’s hand (and slowly). Gov tells Merle to send Glenn and Maggie to “the screaming pits” because the longer they hang around, the greater the chance is that Andrea will find them.
Michonne comes back; she’s found a way in. She leads the group into a building where there is no sign of Maggie or Glenn. There is an old man that looks like a low-rent version of Harry Dean Stanton, however, and they bind him up, gag him, and knock him out when it’s apparent that the old geezer knows nuffink.
Creepy time! At the prison, Yosemite Sam cozies up to Beth as Beth feeds the baby. “Why, ain’t you the toughest, roughest, cutest young lady with a baby I did ever see!” Carl fingers his gun at his side and Carol drags Sam out by his ear.
Carol: Quit being gross.
Sam: Why, I ain’t never had no intention of doing nuthin’ here. I’m jest lonely!
Carol: I said, quit being gross.
Sam: But I needs a lady! And Maggie’s with Glenn, you’re a carpet munch-
Carol: How about you don’t finish that sentence? And by the way, I’m not. But I’m hot for Daryl Dixon, and you, sir, are no Daryl Dixon.
Sam: Not a… My, my, my. Well how you doon?
Merle goes to grab Glenn and Maggie, presumably to take them to their deaths, but meets a surprise: they still have fight in them. And Merle’s side-man has a quick anatomy lesson courtesy of Maggie. “The neck bone’s connected to the Walker arm. [STAB!]” The Red Shirt lets off a round of fire because these idiots are on full-auto like the dummies they are, but that gives Rick and Co. enough cover to run out of the building they’re holed up in.
The crowd outside hears it and are running scared. Inside, Merle eventually overcomes Glenn with his knife-hand to Glenn’s neck, but Maggie gets her gun on him. “Let him go!” she yells. SIGH.
Protip: Always subscribe to the Tuco Shooting Rule: When you have to shoot, shoot. Don’t talk. (And don’t shoot the rope. Shoot the legs under the stool. If you do not know this movie, you have lived your life incorrectly.)
Another guard comes up and disarms Maggie. Well, shit. OH WAIT, OUR HEROES AND THEIR FLASH-BANGS COME CALLING! One flash-bang and a smoke-bomb later, and there’s enough confusion and random gunfire that Rick and Daryl can get Maggie and Glenn out of that room. There is so much smoke it’s about impossible to see what’s happening.
Outside, the Gov tells Andrea that it’s just a few biters on the side fence. You know, like a couple of raccoons in the trash cans, so go on inside, honey pie. But then the gagged man is found and he claims there were about 8 guys, one of them is [whispers] black, so everyone has to panic now. Okay, then. New plan: Everyone go home, lock your doors, put duct tape around the windows, and the Gov is officially Dubya now, with a Cheney streak. Wait, no, he’s Cheney with a Dubya streak.
George Bush does not like black people. [Kanye? Imma let you finish, but this recap is for the last episode of all time. Or this year.]
Michonne melts away from the group as Rick leads the rest back into a building. Glenn manages to tell Daryl that this was all Merle’s doing. Yep, your asshole one-handed brother. He’s not the leader (Daryl’s first assumption, and bless, he just can’t stop being the little brother, can he?) but the right knife-hand man of the leader. Daryl is positive that Merle wouldn’t hurt him (Honey, he’s been hurting you his whole life.) and maybe he could just talk to him, maybe he-
Rick: I thought you were with me, now? I need your bad assery, and more importantly, I will recognize your bad assery. What say you?
Daryl: There are two kinds of men.Those who have friends and those who are lonely like poor Merle. (Hmm, that makes Merle Tuco. But then, Daryl would be Pablo, so that still works.)
The Gov rounds up about five or six fighters and Milton. (He’s a lover, not a fighter.) Gov calls the insurgents “terrorists.” Yep, he’s a politician through and through. He wants Andrea to house sit everyone because as a lady, she’ll keep everyone smiling blandly, just like her. Okay, so he’s a Republican politician. He doesn’t want Andrea knowing who they’re fighting, because knowledge is power. Okay, so he’s an ultra-right wing Republican politician.
Rick and his group, in tight military formation, head out to the street with more smoke bombs and flash-bangs, and a full-fledged gunfight busts out. It is not OK, though, and let’s talk strategy for a minute.
1. You are in a finite situation re: ammo. Yeah, you can make reloads, but anyone that knows guns knows that reloads aren’t as good. The metal casings are weaker, etc.
2. When in said finite situation, you should not have your weapons switched to full-auto.
3. When in said finite situation, you should not only be OFF full-auto, but you should not bother laying down so much suppressing fire when visibility is nil.
WHAT SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED: A quick burst of fire. Smoke bombs. A flash bang away from where you were going. That would have tricked the untrained Woodbury Dudes into shooting towards the bombs, not you as you hustled your asses to the wall.
Also, they’re using AK-47s, and the bullets would have totally gone through metal like it was butter, and a metal slat park bench is no kind of cover. SORRY, I AM MARRIED TO A GUN DUDE. (He’s a nationally ranked sniper, too. Sorry, proud wife moment.)
Highlights: Andrea gets a look at T-Dog 2, but no one else. TD2 is gut-shot helping Maggie and Glenn up over the wall. Rick hallucinates and thinks a dude he killed is Shane, but it’s just some bearded bro. (Rick isn’t 100%, in other words.) Daryl hangs back to let everyone else get away clean.
At the prison while Carl becomes the Most Grizzled Thirteen Year Old Ever, a woman’s scream pierces the night. Again. Doc is all, “But you’re just a boy!” and Carl’s like, “I Old Yeller’d my fucking mother, dude.” Fair enough; off you go, lad. [I love Carl now.]
He races through the underground tunnel system like a boss, taking out Walkers like it’s nothing, and comes upon the group from the opening. He sees they have a bitten person, wants them to be Left Behind, but Tyreese (the group leader) says no. They all follow Carl as he takes out Walkers with ease.
(And let’s talk about how Carl had to go into the Boiler Room where he killed his mom, okay? Because Carl is either going to be an amazingly compassionate man with awesome survivor skills, or he is going to become psychotic. I’m happy with either outcome, honestly.)
Michonne, the warrior she is, has sneaked into the Gov’s place and is sitting with her sword drawn, ready to kill. A thumping from the same door she almost opened last time she was here grabs her attention. She opens it, sees the wall of tanks and starts freaking out. You think you know someone…
She sees her pets. And then she sees the pilot’s head. Can’t get any worse, right? WRONG. She hears noises from the grate, pulls her sword and opens it. And sees what looks like a pretty little girl, all cleaned up an in a dress with a bag over her head. She immediately drops to her knees and tries to soothe the girl out, because Michonne can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never (no never!) let you forget she’s got a woman’s heart still beating in there.
She takes the bag off and is horrified to see the cleaned up little dead girl who tries to bite her face off. Quick to recover, she grabs her sword, ready to kill it, kill it dead when there’s a shout behind her, “No!” The Governor!
He’s terrified, and she is baffled as hell by the turn of events. Oh, she’s still ready to kill and fight, but she’s also trying to put all of the pieces together. The Gov sets his gun down, hands out, begging and pleading for her to not kill his little girl. Dafuq is this?! Also, so this is how I hurt you the most? Okay, then! SWORD MOUTH’d!
He punches her in the face, she throws him to the ground and a wicked and violent fight breaks out, including choking, sword-hilt strangulation, and face-head-tanking on Michonne’s part. She falls back gasping as the Gov tries to push her into the gaping maw of a still-biting head, flopping on the ground like a fish. She gets her hand on a piece of glass and jams it into the Gov’s eye – breaking it off up in that summbitch – only to find Andrea with a gun drawn.
“What have you done?” Uh, saved her own life, and possibly yours, too, you crazy ass white woman!?
They circle each other, all trust gone, but Andrea lets Michonne leave. Andrea finally takes in her surroundings, including all of the HEADS EVERYWHERE JESUS CHRIST, WOMAN and sees her Boo on the ground, sobbing with a jagged piece of glass in his eye meat and a rotten piece of Penny meat in his arms. I would like to think she’s putting two and two together, but her smile is only slightly bland and faintly leaning towards confusion, so it’s hard to tell. I think she’s figured out that the experiment was for the Gov and not Milton, though.
At the prison, Carl leads Tyreese and the others to a safe room where the bitten woman has died. He offers to shoot her in the head, “I’m like, totally good at killing people’s moms,” but they won’t hear of anything so barbaric. They will smash her brain in with a hammer, thank you and GOOD DAY, SIR.
Have it your way, Burger King. Carl locks them in. Sasha gets pissed and is all, “Oh hell no, child, you will let us out,” when Tyreese actually listens to what Carl is saying about shelter, food and water. He sees Doc and Beth in the background and realizes that Carl has earned the title of Man. He tells Sasha to hush, they’re in Carl’s house now, so it’s his rules. Also, Carl is right: they’re finally safe.
Protip: When you are safe from Zeds and have secure shelter and water, you should stop and rest and refuel. ALWAYS.
Beth wonders if Carl should help them, and Carl is all, “Um, I did. Shelter? Food? Water? Offering to shoot moms in the brains? That’s like winning the lottery in the Post Apocalypse World.”
The Gov is seen by the doctor (and boy, do I want to hear her story!) when Milton comes in to check on his honey bear Gov-ikins. Andrea wants to know what the hell Michonne was doing there in the first place? “She came back to kill me.” There’s some half-assed response to Andrea about why he had the heads in the first place, you know, to serve as a reminder. I guess he couldn’t just look through the front gate?
Milton fetches the smelling salts for himself when Merle and his henchmen show up. Oh, is the Governor angry. He is Ren Hoek levels of angry. “The things I’m gonna do to you…,” he thinks as he looks at Merle. Liar liar, your pants are going to be filled with gun fire.
Rick gets his dwindling group over the wall; Glenn is in bad shape. They realize Daryl isn’t with them, but Michonne steps out of the night like the ninja she is, and Rick’s had it with her. He makes her put her hands up, takes her sword, and she lets him. She is still pretty freaked from what just happened. “I brought you to save them,” she says, looking at Glenn and Maggie. She did her job! “You’ll need help to get back to the prison. You need me.”
She’s really saying she needs them, but she’s too proud to say something like that. I think she’s used to always having some sort of companion, and now she’s just alone. She needs people, other fighters.
But they all need Daryl. [NAIL BITING!]
In the fighting pits, the Gov has everyone gathered for his State of the Union Address. Short answer: not good.
“I promised to keep you safe. Hell, look at me! I’m…afraid. I’m afraid of terrorists who want what we have. Worse, one of those terrorists is one of our own.”
The Gov points at Merle; that was the man he trusted, the man he saved, and this is the thanks he gets? His right-knife-hand man in cahoots with the terrorists? And don’t take the Gov’s word for it, they caught one of them. Bet they can get that little birdy to sing.
IT’S DARYL. Merle, for the first time, looks like he’s feeling regret. And Andrea sees Daryl. She knows him, knows he broke with his brother, knows he stood by Rick, knows he worked with her to make her independent. Hell, she knows he was there for Carol when they found Sophia.
The governor, totally excited by everyone’s blood lust, whisper smiles at Merle, “You wanted your brother. Now you got him.”
HOW DO I WAIT UNTIL FEBRUARY. HOW.