- Air Date: 12/2/2012
- Directed By: Bill Gierhart
- Starring: Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Laurie Holden, Lauren Cohan, Danai Gurira, Steven Yeun, Chandler Riggs, Melissa McBride, Scott Wilson, Emily Kinney, David Morrissey, Michael Rooker
- Guest Stars: Chad Coleman, Jose Pablo Cantillo
- Author: Robert Kirkman
Season 3 of THE WALKING DEAD has almost been the inverse of last season up to this point. Last season, Rick’s crew languished on Herschel’s farm, drowning in soap operatics, squeezing every inch out of the storyline before getting to the point and moving forward. This bemoaned many viewers and lovers of the comic book. That hasn’t been a problem this season, as we reach the halfway point (ALREADY?!), with Rick, Michonne, Oscar, and Daryl moving full steam ahead, into the den of The Governor and Woodbury.
Going into this week’s episode I had the opposite concern of season 2. Were we going too fast through this Woodbury and Governor subplot? Were we going to miss some of the goodness, the sadness, and the Oh-My-God-ness of what happens to Rick and his crew when they take on the Governor? Those questions are answered in a satisfying way, with Robert Kirkman performing the writerly duties, and using the TV version of his creation to improve upon the comic book.
It’s impossible to delve too much into this episode without major spoilers, but in many ways, we’ve gotten to see the origin of David Morrissey’s Governor over the past eight episodes, with hints and nods at how evil he is/was to become. After “Made to Suffer,” which may be talking about the Governor as much as anyone else, I think we’ve seen the terrifying villain come to life, and the result is more eerie because of the process of it all. Also, Rick, Michonne, and company aren’t as innocent this time around.
We open in the woods, with an unfamiliar group struggling to fight off zombies, with one of their group being bitten in the process. They stumble out of the forest with the help of a hulking black man, who is none other than fan favorite Tyrese (Chad Coleman), massive hammer in hand. They emerge from the bowels of the haunted forest to find the back end of the prison, which has clearly been compromised, with a rip through the fence and rubble leading inside its walls. Tyrese and his group pile in, bringing the infected member along with them.
At Woodbury, Rick, Daryl, Michonne, and Oscar spy the guarded walls and eye an entryway. Of course, it’s Michonne who leads the way. Concurrently, Maggie and Glenn devise an escape plan from the clutches of Merle and the Governor, featuring probably one of the coolest and grossest moments of the show (courtesy of Steven Yeun’s errand-boy-turned-badass), which is saying something. Andrea and the Governor are canoodling, when all of this blows up, with Rick’s rescue mission going awry, Glenn and Maggie’s escape attempt fizzling, and the knowledge that at any moment, Daryl will find out that Merle is alive and well (maybe not mentally), that he’s responsible for the torture of everyone’s favorite couple, and that Andrea may find out that the “insurgents” are her old pals.
Michonne leaves Rick and company in the dust to go on a more personal errand, which didn’t ring as true as it should have, but has a fantastic ending that erases any doubt in the mechanics of it. We get a death or two, and a breakout moment for Chandler Riggs’ Carl back at base, who looks more and more like Rick everyday (for better or worse).
The episode juggles it all brilliantly, and devolves into an all-out war between Rick’s crew and Woodbury almost immediately, highlighting how fickle violence and man can be, and what could have happened, if it had all occurred a little differently. Robert Kirkman, Glen Mazzara, and AMC are certainly doing things a little different this time around, and so far, I have no regrets. See you in February.