NOTE: Let’s be mindful of all the new viewers participating in this conversation and try not to spoil plot points taking place deep into the run of the comic series. Mild speculation is fine and encouraged, as well as talking about things that have happened in the comic up until the point they are at in the show, but don’t get too explicit with regard to future surprises. They will be deleted. Thanks!
“When The Dead Come Knocking”
“Dr. Milton’s Freaky Weirdo Science Lab.”
Last week, we got definitive proof that Rick is going coo-coo in the form of his conversations with dead people on the telephone (he’s got the friends and family plan), Michonne finally made her way to the prison and (sort of) met Rick, and Glenn and Maggie got captured by Merle and brought to Woodbury. Also, Andrea slept with The Governor which is only going add to the giant pile of neuroses that she’s suffering from once the full horror of his psychosis is revealed.
This week, Merle interrogates Glenn in a storage room in Woodbury. It would seem that Merle is still not over the whole “you left me on the roof where I was forced to cut off my own hand” thing. On the plus side for Merle, T-Dogg is dead. Glenn isn’t very forthcoming with information abut the whereabouts of Rick, Darryl and the gang, so Merle creepily threatens to get it out of Maggie. And when that doesn’t get a rise out of Glenn, Merle uses his fists on Glenn’s face to try to get him to talk. Meanwhile, Maggie can hear every word through the thin, corrugated metal walls of her adjoining storage room.
Rick continues to stare at Michonne through the prison fence. She had been moving among zombies unnoticed because last week she got covered in zombie guts. But then just as it seems that someone might when the staring contest, one of the zombies realizes that Michonne is human and goes in for lunch. Michonne sticks her sword through his head and backs away from the fence as more zombies hear the lunch bell ringing. Carla sks his dad if they should help her, but Rick tells him to wait because Rick is no longer operating on any kind of normal moral compass. Michonne fends off the zombies until she gets light head from the gunshot wound that Merle gave her last week and she falls over on her back. Just as it looks like it’s time for the zombie buffet to start, Carl starts shooting, which snaps Rick out of his haze and he starts shooting. Aided by the cheerleading of One-Legged Hershel, they rescue Michonne and carry her and her supplies into the safety of the prison grounds.
Inside the prison, Rick pours some water on Michonne to revive her. She lashes out from fear, confusion, pain, and general caution and Rick promises not to hurt her if she doesn’t provoke him. Darryl enters the room and makes some general inquiries about the situation. Darryl says that he has something interesting that they need to see, and before going off to find out what’s up, Rick tells Michonne—after she finally talks and says she didn’t ask for their help—that he can’t let her leave the prison. Uncomfortable echoes of The Governor.
Darryl’s got a surprise for everyone! It’s Carol! To say that Rick is relieved to see her would be an understatement. The look on his face says that he really needed to know that someone survived that attack that claimed T-Dogg and his wife Lori. He needed that win. Everyone gathers around Carol and is all smiles and happiness until Rick breaks down crying after Carol sees the new baby and realizes that Lori is dead. Michonne watches this all go down from the other side bars.
In Woodbury, The Governor struts around in a robe like a guy suddenly getting laid on the regular after a long dry spell. Milton knocks on the door of The Governor’s room and informs him that a Mr. Coleman is ready in the lab. After Milton leaves, Andrea gets dressed and tells The Governor that she’s got to go, and The Governor tells her she can’t.
Rick tells Michonne that he’ll tend to her gunshot wound, feed her,a nd give her water, but that’s she’s going to have to leave. But first he wants to know how she found them and why she was carrying a bunch of baby formula. Instead of saying, “This is a giant prison, it’s not like you’re hidden,” Michonne tells Rick that she picked up the supplies when a young Asian man dropped them right before he was taken by the same man who shot her. This news is alarming to Rick, Hershel, and Daryl. So alarming in fact that they start acting aggressively towards Michonne. Rick calms everyone down when he sees something in her eyes, and Michonne tells them about the existence of Woodbury and The Governor. She thinks that she can sneak them into the town past the sentries to rescue their people.
Clearly Merle has been spending the time since the cold open beating on Glenn because Glenn’s face is swollen and bleeding a lot. Glenn tells Merle that Rick is going to come for him and that Merle is in big trouble when he does. Merle doesn’t buy Glenn’s tough talk, especially when Glenn mentions Andrea as being a part of the army that’s coming for him.
Hershel sews up Michonne’s leg wound, but she’s too preoccupied with keeping an eye on Carl who stands guard, tapping his fingers on the butt of his holstered pistol like he just can’t wait for an excuse to pull it and start blasting.
Rick and the gang debate whether or not they can trust Michonne and whether or not they should raid Woodbury. Rick, Daryl, Beth, and the two convicts Axel and Oscar all volunteer to go on the raid.
As Darryl loads a car up with weapons, Michonne basically tells Beth that she is impressed that they were able to clear the prison. Well, she doesn’t come out and say it, but she’s incapable of such sentiment right now.
Rick takes Carl aside for a little father/son pep talk. He tells Carl that he is proud of him for shooting Lori and that if something happens while he’s on the raid that Carl will have to step up and be the man of the group. He’s also going to have to watch out for his new sister. Speaking of the new baby, Carl tells Rick that his new sister needs a name, and as awesome as Daryl’s calling her “Ass Kicker” is, she needs a real name. They settle on Judith because apparently Carl had a crush on his 3rd grade teacher who had the same name.
With the car loaded up with guns and grenades, Rick, Michonne, Daryl, and Oscar head out to Woodbury to get their people back.
Charming old time music plays on a record player. A quaint landscape painting. Milton feeding soup to the bed-ridden Old Man Coleman. These are the things that Andrea comes face-to-face with when The Governor brings her into yet another storage room. After her failure on guard duty on the wall last week, it would seem that The Governor is seconding Andrea to Milton’s weirdo science unit. The Governor tells Andrea to help Milton and that he’ll see her later. Before he leaves, The Governor also tells Mr. Coleman that he and everyone and Woodbury is grateful for what he’s doing. Whatever he’s doing can’t be good. Milton has Andrea cue up the first song on the record player right after he is done creating a high pitched tone by running a stone along the edges of a metal bowl. Milton then tells Mr. Coleman a series of statements and asks Mr. Coleman to raise his right hand when he recognizes a true one. He raises his hand identifying himself, his wife, and their children. Milton says, “Very good” and Mr. Coleman whispers in Milton’s ear asking if they can keep the music playing, “While we wait.” WHILE WE WAIT FOR WHAT?!?
Merle brings a zombie into Glenn’s storage unit on the end of a metal pole leash. He asks Glenn one more time to tell him where Rick and the gang are located. Glenn, still duct taped to a chair, refuses to give up any information so Merle let’s the zombie loose, throws out one more racial slur for the road, and leaves the room. Glenn does his best impression of Black Widow from her first scene in Marvel’s The Avengers and manages to fight off the zombie until he can bust up the chair and use the broken pieces to stab it in the skull. Then, in a fantastic bit of filmmaking, Glenn lets loose a primal scream, followed by The Walking Dead music sting, followed by silence, and then deep shoulder-heaving heavy breathing.
Milton explains what creepy thing he’s got going on with Mr. Coleman. He’s about to die, and when he does he’ll comeback as a zombie. When he does, Milton is going to ask him the same questions again to see if there is anything left of Mr. Coleman’s consciousness inside Zombie Coleman. Andrea’s job, in addition to cueing up music, will be to dispatch Zombie Coleman once the Q&A session is over. Andrea agrees but she’s not buying Milton’s theories about the unconscious mind lingering on after zombie transformation. She’s had first had experience with her sister Amy.
Merle informs The Governor that despite his best efforts, Glenn is not talking about where their camp is. The Governor seems more concerned that both Glenn and Maggie know Andrea and that their people might attempt a rescue. The Governor tells Merle that he will personally handle Maggie’s interrogation.
The Governor enters Maggie’s storage room and brandishes a knife. He uses it to cut Maggie’s restraints and takes a seat across the table from her. He wants to know where her people are. She wants to talk to Glenn. The Governor forces Maggie to stand and take her shirt and bra off. He wordlessly threatens her with rape but she still won’t talk.
After pulling their car over a mile or two from Woodbury, Rick and the raiding party make their way on foot through the woods. While they walk, Rick thanks Darryl for taking car of his baby while Rick was off… finding himself… I guess is the best way to put it. Before things can get too touchy-feely they are over run by a small herd of zombies. They kill a few of the zombies but quickly realize that the numbers on not in their favor and make their escape to a small cabin in the woods. (As an aside I really like that Oscar is not nearly as proficient as the others in killing zombies. He takes more time and blows with each one. It’s a nice touch that shows the difference between zombie killing veterans and rookies.)
The cabin is quickly set upon by zombies who pound on the walls, doors, and windows. But Rick and the gang have a bigger problem: the crazy old hermit with the shotgun living in the cabin who threatens to call the cops on these home invaders. Unable to listen to reason, or recognize the army of zombies banging on his house, the crazy old hermit makes a run for the door which forces Michonne to take him out with her sword. Never one to miss an opportunity, Rick gets Daryl to help him chuck the body out the front door, which causes a feeding frenzy distraction that allows everyone to escape out the back.
Back in Dr. Milton’s Freaky Weirdo Science Lab, Mr. Coleman has awakened as Zombie Coleman. Milton runs through is list of questions again. He thinks that maybe Zombie Coleman tried to raise his hand at one of the statements but couldn’t because of the restraints. Andrea just thinks it was an inconclusive finger wiggle probably brought on by the sight of food. Milton wants to be sure and, despite Andrea’s protests, unlatches Zombie Coleman’s right arms. To the surprise of no one by Milton, Zombie Coleman lunges and almost takes a bite out of Milton before Andrea plunges her knife into his skull, thus ending another episode of Dr. Milton’s Freaky Weirdo Science Lab.
Merle, a random thug, and The Governor enter Glenn’s storage room with Maggie in tow. She’s still topless and humiliated. The Governor puts a gun to Glenn’s head and threatens to shoot him. Maggie starts talking: she and Glenn come from a group of about ten and they the are camped in the prison. The Governor is incredulous: he knows about the prison and it’s overrun with zombies. He doesn’t believe that only ten people cleared it out. After creepily hugging and kissing Maggie on the forehead, he tosses her into Glenn’s storage room.
The Governor convenes his war council in his room. Milton doesn’t believe Maggie’s claims. He thinks it’s impossible that a group that small cleared the prison. The Governor is worried that if Maggie is telling the truth about the prison then he has a hostile force in his backyard. And if they did indeed clear out the prison then they must be capable and dangerous. And if this group is being even partially lead by his brother Daryl, then maybe he needs to be concerned about Merle’s allegiances.
He has no idea how right he is to be worried as Rick, Daryl, Michonne, and Oscar stealthily approach the walls of Woodbury.
Andrea returns to The Governor’s quarters needing a drink after thee weirdness in Dr. Milton’s Freaky Weirdo Science Lab. The Governor consoles her and tells her that everything is going to be alright but that look in his eyes that only we can see tells an entirely different story.
I know that some people have been complaining that The Governor on television is not as overtly brutal and sadistic as he was in the comics. I’m so glad that he’s not. Personally, I barely endured the brutality that he inflicted on Rick and (mostly) Michonne in the comics, and that was with the protective psychological barrier of knowing I was looking at drawings and not people. To see real people go through that, even in a scenario where I know I’m looking at actors, would have been too much. And too much, I suspect, for most of the audience. What they’ve done on the show with The Governor is enough. It’s the unknown brutality that lurks below the surface that makes this version of The Governor scary and it’s enough that we have hints and implications that he is a psychopath and capable of almost anything.