This past week’s episode showed off what makes the Walking Dead such a great show, characters. I never saw Walking Dead as a show about zombies, I always saw it as a show about people and their nature, and when they shine on a spotlight on that the Walking Dead excels. This week the focus was on the showdown between Rick and the Governor as they come to the table to try to negotiate terms, something neither man knew would happen going into the meeting. The two meet up in an abandoned store, but to Rick’s surprise, the Governor has showed up early. Right off the bat I would’ve been put into suspicion mode, thinking that the Governor has set something up to his advantage in the meeting spot. Outside Daryl and Herschel stand guard as Martinez, Andrea and Milton show up, Andrea surprised that the meeting had started without her.
Though Rick offers terms that seem more than reasonable, the Governor will not be satisfied with anything less then Rick and his group surrendering. At this point it becomes clear to Rick that this was never a meeting to negotiate terms. Outside a small group of walkers appears and Andrea, Martinez and Daryl make quick work of them, showing off their prowess. After Martinez and Daryl start to bond as do Milton and Herschel. I liked the idea of this moment as it lets the other side know that there are real people involved here, not just soldiers, which only serves to up the stakes should the two sides come to war, though the bonding between Martinez and Daryl had an ominous tone to it as they both know war is an eventuality. Andrea also finds out from Herschel that the Governor did some sick things to Maggie, and Andrea starts to question her role in Woodbury. Finally! The head aquarium, the walker gladiator combat challenge, the signing up of children to fight, none of these things shook Andrea from the Governor’s grasp. It took Maggie’s assault to finally make her see things clearer.
Back at the prison, Rick’s group starts to fortify the prison against attack, when Merle decides that they need to head to the meeting and kill the Governor. Everyone shuts Merle down, a fight ensues, Merle loses, Merle sulks the whole time as he pleads to individuals to rally to his cause, and Merle’s pleas fall on deaf ears. Glenn takes some time to make things right with Maggie, which ends in a gratuitous love scene. Look, I’m all for some down and dirty, and Glenn having issues “performing” with the walkers in sight was funny, but I really don’t need the whole show here. A simple making out while the clothes come off will suffice, whenever it starts to cross over into gratuitous, that means we are losing story. This was time that we could be spending with Rick and the Governor, and instead we get a love scene that lasts way too long and starts to feel like filler rather than story telling.
At the meeting, after some grandstanding from both sides, the Governor makes Rick a proposal, Turn over Michonne and this can all go away. They set up another meeting in two days time to handle the exchange. As they leave Andrea has a choice to make on whom she will leave with, and of course in usual Andrea fashion, she chooses to leave with the psychopathic Governor. Just like her intent to kill the Governor a few weeks ago, we should’ve known she wouldn’t leave with Rick, once again showing why she is indeed the most frustrating TV character of all time. Not even the word of the Governor’s assault on Maggie is enough to make her leave, though we do get some interesting tidbits in the preview for next week, but I’ll leave that for next week.
With Rick back at the prison, he chooses to withhold the fact that turning over Michonne will leave them free and clear of Woodbury, and instead tells his group that the Governor wants them all dead and they should be ready for war. Some might say this was a lie, but to be honest, I don’t think it was. Rick seems to have a pretty good read on the Governor, whether he knows it or not. I don’t know if he just doesn’t want to hand over Michonne, or if he knows that if they do the Governor will kill them anyway, but Rick is using his thinking cap here. What are the odds that this man honors his word, what are the chances that the Governor lets them live? In a conversation with Herschel, he discloses the deal to him, and wonders just that, how do they know they will be left alone. Rick sees both sides of the argument, asking Herschel if he was willing to put his daughters’ lives on the line for Michonne, but I also think Rick more than knows that if they do, they probably won’t live anyway. Sure enough we see that Rick is right on that account as the Governor already makes plans with Milton to kill Rick and his guys at the meet to hand over Michonne. I do like that this gave Milton pause, wondering why he wouldn’t honor the deal he made. Maybe Milton will start to see that he’s sided with a mad man. If the Governor truly wants to rebuild society, it starts with living with neighbors, not eliminating them, and it looks like Milton is starting to see the Governor for what he really is, a mad dictator.
Overall this was a great episode from a character standpoint. Sometimes you have to take the action away for character relationships to develop, and this episode was the perfect example of that. A lot of what went down at the meeting was simply great in that we get to see how the relationship between Rick and the Governor develops, and we also got some great dialogue between the two, as well as between their mates.
4 out of 5 nerds
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