Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Walking Dead Season 3, Episode 3 "Walk with me" Recap

After last week's episode showed us the fairing of the Ricktatorship in detail, this week's episode of The Walking Dead returns to Michonne and Andrea. Both were more or less only hinted at in the first episode "Seeds" and get a whole episode dedicated to their story. Oh, and the Governor appears, but we'll save that for later. The episode starts with a helicopter crash of some soldiers, and until Michonne and Andrea spot the smoke from the crash site it's not exactly clear whether it's a flashback or not. It's noteworthy that we still don't know what the story behind the two walkers Michonne's carrying on a chain is, nor who exactly she is and why she carries a samurai sword. Seems like many of that is left for later.
Chicks get dangerous when equipped with swords.

When Michonne walked past the dead soldier I instantly thought "Hack his head off, stupid!", and it wasn't until a few minutes later that I realized neither Michonne nor Andrea knew about the infection yet. Cleverly done, The Walking Dead. You instantly reminded the audience of the great danger once again and simultaneously showed us how remote both had been without rubbing our noses in it. Anyway, Michonne and Andrea - who is still sick - can't enjoy their little exploration for long, as two pickups drive on the scene and some dedicated, professional guys kill the zombies. One of them rams a knife into the head of the dead soldiers before they evacuate the one survivor.
But fuck that. I want to know what's up with these guys.
When Michonne's pet zombies threaten to endanger the hiding Andrea and Michonne herself, she instantly kills them, to the shock of Andrea who seemed to assume (as did the audience) that the two are important to Michonne. Alas, it has been for naught, since the two are captured quickly by a member of the group which is, surprise, Merle, with a badass bayonett prosthesis. Somehow it was always only a question of time when Merle would show up again. Him appearing to Daryl for no apparent reason in season 2 smelled like keeping the actor warm. Here he is, somehow tamed, but still obviously full of reckless redneck badassery.

Kiss knife or pistol, your choice, but bow before the smelling breath.
 It almost seems like Merle's function in this episode is solely to set the stage for the Governor. Merle cows before everything this average dude with the hard look says, and while he doesn't appear to be much of a tough nut in the beginning, he has to have something on him if Merle - who fought Rick the first instant - submits so easily to him. And indeed, as we go to Woodbury, we see him command the little town with natural ease. Of course, Michonne doesn't trust it, and the idyllic picture that the Governor chooses to show of Woodbury seems way too nice to be true. Even Andrea, who again falls for the hard guy playing the fascist leader notices as much when she states that "Governor" isn't a nickname but a title, shattering the false modesty that this guy tries to surround himself with.

Excellent casting, as always.
We soon see what the problem behind the facade is. The Governor gets the location of the pilot's squad out of him, drives there with his buddies and kills all the soldiers in cold blood to gain their supplies. In the closing shot of the episode, we see the Governor in his mancave, where he keeps severed heads for...what, entertaintment? Doesn't look like it. This will be interesting, that much is sure. But the episode does way more than just give us a new nemesis for the characters to fight. The episode also shows us the function of the new, emerging society. What the Governor is offering is peace and order, at the price of giving up your freedoms. Everybody does that; the Rickatorship as well, but they still have to wait for peace and order. No wonder Andrea gets cow-eyed. In a zombie apocalypse, there can't be much else. The Governor's speech reflects exactly that: be content with what you have, thankful for it and go home. If you have a home, that is. He provides exactly that, and people follow him for it.

And I will predict that it`ll lead to serious trouble when the group meets him.

So, the Governor takes Merle in and seems to have a genuine interest in winning Andrea and Michonne over as well. Why did he kill the soldiers? I'd say it's political instinct. The soldiers represent another hierarchy, an order that he is no part of. Would he have taken them into Woodbury, there would have been seven or eight heavily armed and trained guys who have no real reason to follow his orders. It was self-preservation. The Governor cannot tolerate anyone who commands authority that does not directly derive from him, that much the episode made clear. Knowing Rick, this will lead to serious issues when the group meets him (hopefully you noticed by now that I never use the term "if").

Because this guy is about nothing if not principle.

The episode also provides us with some background on the Walkers themselves, in form of a nerdy scientist that won't survive the season, guaranteed. He's the Gale Boetticher of The Walking Dead, the guy from Woodbury we might actually mourn when he's killed. Anyway, we get the explanation why the Walkers are still around while there's so little food to be had (the starve very slowly), and we now know they can be tamed. This will lead to some serious issues as well, I'd wager. I can already see the argument starting about whether it's ok to chain them to the wall or not. But that sounds more negative than it's intended. The third season of Walking Dead is great stuff so far, and if they go on like this, I'm really rooting for it.


  1. I just can't get beyond the unbelievability of some people's actions. If everyone in the world is walking around as a zombie trying to eat you, and then you meet a living breathing human being, YOUR FIRST INSTINCT IS NOT TO MURDER THEM. Sure you might be cautious, but seriously everyone they meet wants to murder them, its silly.

    1. I think you're wrong here. My first instinct would not be to murder other people, no. Yours neither. But we're not talking about first instincts here. It takes a long learning curve for them to develop the kill instinct. For the group, it's two seasons long, and even then does Rick hesitate to kill a guy that fairly obvious wants to do the same to him first chance he gets.
      The Governor and his people, on the other hand, made that choice some time ago, but we don't know when (yet). They had eight months or something to develop their policy towards outsiders, and I find the Governor's reaction very reasonable from his point of view. He has something nearly everyone else wants. You don't take a squad of people with guns there. Remember that Hershel's first thing was to take the guns of the group before allowing them into the house? Cleverest thing he ever did.
      If you are in a post-apocalyptic world, you seriously need to get some things - food, clothing, medicine, shelter, tools and weapons, chiefly. Most likely, there is not enough of it for everyone. So, when you stand on ressources eye in eye with another guy you don't know, and it's only enough for one, and when death is everywhere and commonplace (remember, eight months!), I seriously don't think that killing that other guy is an option that doesn't cross people's mind.
      Again, not first instinct.

  2. 1) Not just talking about the outsider issue, Shane just going fuckin crazy for absolutely no reason was the first tip off that characters were ridiculously illogical.

    2) Its a post-apocalyptic world in which almost everyone is dead, that means there is a fuckton of food and supplies lying around, the problem is having the coordination and manpower to retrieve them. The Black Plague is a near comparison, and it was terrible, but no one starved that winter.

    1. 1) Shane seems not the most stable of guys. Most illogical was all that wandering around in season 2. But you're right, it sure was strange.
      2) Yes, I agree, that's the problem that presents itself. But I'm not sure what the totale breakdown of society does to you. In the Black Plague, law enforcement still worked, taxes were raised, etc.