RECAP: ‘The Walking Dead’ – S03E10 – “Home”

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!


The Walking Dead_Home

“Home”

Or

“Hatchbacks Are Bloody Business”

Last week, over 15 million people tuned in to the second half of the third season of The Walking Dead to see Rick and the gang rescue Daryl from Woodbury but then promptly lose him to the woods when they wouldn’t take in his brother Merle. Oh yeah, then Rick had a public mental breakdown when he had to decide if he was going to let Tyrese and his gang assimilate into the group when he saw a vision of his dead wife and started yelling at her and waving his gun around and generally freaking everybody the fuck out, including me.

This week, Rick is still crazy. While on duty on a high perch keeping an eye out for The Governor’s eventual attack, Rick spots his wife standing in the ad hoc cemetery on the prison grounds. When he goes to confront her, she disappears and reappears over by one of the outer gates. Trauma-induced hallucinations are tricky like that. Rick finally catches up to her and we see that the producers are not getting by with a mere body double as Lori gives Rick a smile and caress of his face. Michonne, who had been passed out in her locked cell last week when Rick freaked out, has been watching Rick run around like a madman this whole time and is a bit concerned to see him appear to interact with someone who isn’t there.

Roll credits!

Over in heavily fortified Woodbury, The Governor comes a-calling on Andrea. He commends Andrea on the pacifying speech she gave to the people of the town last week when they were fixing to revolt against The Governor’s leadership. Sounding very much like a man suffering from shell-shock, The Governor not only tells Andrea that he won’t be retaliating against Rick and the people at the prison, but that he will be abdicating power for a little while and handing over leadership of the town to Andrea.

In the woods, as Merle stops for a pee break, Daryl complains that they haven’t seen any wild game and he’s getting hungry. Daryl tries to sell Merle on the benefits and luxuries that come from living in the prison and that maybe they should head back and give it a try, but Merle says he’d rather take his chances in the woods. Apparently, Daryl forgot that it wasn’t Merle’s decision not to go live in the prison, it was everyone else’s decision to keep him out.

With Rick off in Crazytown, Glenn takes charge in the prison. He and Carl sketch out a layout of the prison to try to figure out where Tyrese and his gang got access, and thus where they have a defensive problem, not only against zombies but against gunmen from Woodbury. Glenn, still full of rage over his beating, Maggie’s humiliation and near-rape, and their near death, wants to take Michonne and sneak back into Woodbury and assassinate The Governor. Doc Hershel tries to convince Glenn that not only is it a bad idea to go back and attack Woodbury but that they should be planning to leave the prison and head back out on the road. Glenn overrules him and says they’re not leaving and they will defend the prison against any attackers. Then Glenn looks around the room and realizes that everyone except Maggie (who stormed out in a huff when her dad and boyfriend were arguing) and Crazy Rick are there which means that no one is out watching the perimeter.

The Governor interrupts Milton’s alpha wave-induced meditation session to get a new battery for his radio and to find out if he has any plans to abandon Woodbury. The Governor then lays the compliments on thick about how Milton is one of the only people in Woodbury that he fully trusts anymore and how he doesn’t really even trust Andrea. Apparently The Governor wasn’t all that serious about Andrea being the new leader of Woodbury since he asks Milton to spy on her and report anything suspicious back to him.

But Andrea doesn’t know that the offer wasn’t genuine because after a commercial break she goes out to the wall to find one of The Governor’s other lieutenants, Martinez. He’s not around, but she does find Milton who doesn’t have any satisfactory answers as to where The Governor is. Something about going on a supply run.

Glenn’s got bad news for the rest of the gang after he and Carl get back from a recon mission: the far side of the prison, where Tyrese and his people entered, is not only weak defensively but is now overrun with zombies.  Glenn’s going to have to go take a car around to the far side to see why they have suddenly been overrun and how the zombies got inside. He wants to take Maggie with him but first they have to have a frank talk about what happened to her in the prison and it’s clear that she has not even begun to deal with her ordeal at the hands of The Governor.

Axel and Carol work on fortifying the chain link fences with random wood pallets and Axel tells a charming little story about how he got arrested and how he doesn’t know anything about using a gun. Carol shows him how to check the ammo and more than one or two sparks fly between them. Daryl is not going to be happy once he gets back.

Right now Daryl has other problems to deal with, namely he’s still trudging through the woods with his brother Merle who will just not shut up. Daryl thinks he hears a baby crying in the distance but Merle thinks it’s just two raccoons ravaging one another. Hey! Daryl was right. They come upon a bunch of people on an overpass, trapped on top of a truck surrounded by zombies. Merle doesn’t want to help them because he’s an asshole; Daryl unslings his crossbow and runs towards them because he’s Daryl.

On the overpass, two men on top of a truck try in vain to fight off the zombies while a woman and a baby are trapped helplessly inside a car. One of the men drops his gun and is about to get bitten when an arrow pierces the zombie’s head. Then another arrow drops another zombie and Daryl is there, the one man zombie wrecking crew. Daryl heads for the car and and cleans out all the zombies trying to get to the woman and her baby, including using the hatchback door to dispatch one of them in a particularly bloody scene. (As an aside, when I was a kid I had a hatchback door slammed on my head by a girl who I can only assume is a sociopath because I wasn’t the first person she did that too. There was A LOT of blood. Like, I looked like the Red Skull. You can imagine how thrilled my mom was.) While Daryl runs around taking out zombies like a man possessed, Merle pretty much stands to the side watching, only deigning to step in when a zombie gets close to his brother. Finally all the zombies are cleared out and everyone is safe. The people on the bridge speak Spanish which is a problem for Merle because he’s a racist. Merle sets about ransacking the car for food and freaking everyone out. Daryl puts the crossbow to Merle’s back and forces him to leave the people alone and walk away. Merle complies and the people get in their car and take off.

Back in the woods, Merle has a lot of choice words for his brother. He doesn’t like this new do-gooder attitude that Daryl is sporting and he is still really bitter about the whole being left on the rooftop in episode one thing. They struggle and Daryl’s shirt rips and Merle sees a bunch of nasty scars on Daryl’s back that Merle recognizes as being the work of their father. This happy family memory snaps Daryl back to reality and he tells Merle that he’s leaving and going back to the prison. Merle says he can’t go with him because he tried to kill Michonne and Glenn, who he calls “the Chinese kid.” Daryl corrects Merle’s casual racism and tells him that Glenn is Korean and that he may be walking away but Merle is the one who is leaving him. He stalks off back towards the prison and after a few beats of indecisiveness, Merle appears to follow.

Doc Hershel confronts Glenn and stops him from leaving on his own. He is afraid that Glenn’s rage and guilt is going to lead him to recklessness and then death. Glenn tells Doc Hershel that with Daryl gone and with Rick… indisposed at the moment that he is in charge (and it is here that I realize that we haven’t seen Rick at all since the cold open). He jumps in a pick up truck and takes off, heedless of Doc Hershel’s entreaties to stay. Doc Hershel watches Glenn drive out through the gates and then looks over and sees Rick wandering aimlessly around the prison grounds and the old man shakes his head. They’re totally screwed.

Beth brings Li’l Asskicker to Maggie because she can’t feed the baby and cook food for everyone else at the same time. Beth is only one barely teenage girl!

Rick stumbles around the woods directly outside the prison gates looking for “Lori.” Someone is calling his name! Is it a ghost? Is it Santa Claus? No, it’s Doc Hershel! He tells Rick that it’s time to come back from Crazytown and fix things in the prison because Glenn is too reckless to lead the group at the moment. Rick tells Doc Hersel that he should lead the group because Rick’s very busy with “stuff” in the woods. Doc Hershel turns around to hobble back to the prison and Rick reveals that he’s been having hallucinations of his wife in a very clingy white dress. He tells Hershel that he’s also talked to her on the old rotary phone in the prison. Not just Lori, but Shane too. But we haven’t seen Shane because he’s busy shooting a TV show with Frank Darabont that sounds awesome. Doc Hershel tells Rick to come back inside and get some sleep.

Axel and Carol watch Doc Hershel talk to Rick and Axel tells her that he recognizes a guy cracking up when he sees one because he saw it all the time in prison. He then starts to tell Carol a charming little story about his scumbag older brother when his head explodes, sniped by The Governor. Milton is a liar!

After the commercial break, The Governor’s gunmen open fire on the prison. This snaps Rick out of his haze as he and Doc Hershel dive for cover. Carol uses Axel’s body for protection and Carl and Beth make a run for the doors. A massive firefight erupts but their are too many of The Governor’s gunmen and they re too well positioned. Rick and the gang are pinned down and are having no luck defending themselves. The tide begins to turn. Maggie comes busting out of the door with two machine guns. She tosses the extra to Carl and then lays down enough suppressing fire of her own to allow Carol to escape from behind Axel’s body to get to Carl and the extra machine gun. The sound of a truck engine catches everyone’s attention and the shooting stops. An old delivery truck comes barreling down the road and rams straight through the double prison gates. It comes to a stop in the middle of the prison grounds and The Governor smiles. After an agonizing moment, the back door of the truck opens and zombies come pouring out. The driver of the truck hops out wearing full body armor and a helmet and Rick quickly gets a bead on them and pulls the trigger and dry clicks. He’s out of ammo in his machine gun. The firing begins again in earnest and Rick yells for Doc Hershel to get to safety. As zombies continue to steam out of the delivery truck, more and more zombies begin to appear outside of the gates. All of the gun fire is attracting them to the prison. Maggie finally takes out the gunmen set up high in one of the guard towers but that’s about it for the good news for the good guys as Rick is out of ammo and is in danger of being overrun by zombies. The Governor and his men jump back in their trucks and take off back to Woodbury, passing a confused Glenn as he drives back in. Hand to zombie combat breaks out in earnest as Rick uses his giant handgun to beat back zombies as best he can. Michonne has much better luck with her sword as she quite literally cuts a path through the yard. Glenn drives his truck over to rescue Doc Hershel and just as Rick is about to become the early bird special, Daryl and Merle appear and save him.

Everyone might have survived the attack but now they’ve got a serious zombie infestation problem on their hands.

 


I wasn’t able to watch last week’s episode until right before this one and watching them back-to-back was fantastic. This season has been extremely compelling and now that all hell as broken loose between Rick and his people and The Governor and his people anything can happen and it’s been very exciting. It’s no surprise that this show gets more and more popular as the show goes on–there’s nothing else on television that’s this exciting and action-packed while also being so very tense.

Comments

  1. BOOM!-Headshot. I almost jumped out of my seat.

  2. Daryl. That is all.

  3. Was it just me or did anyone else think axel was being set up as a potential sex predator with his interactions with carol and then “bang!”

    my girlfriend hasn’t read the books so doesn’t think the same as me and didn’t see that line of story coming.
    It certainly leave us with enough variations for surprises for everyone
    well played Mr Kirkman. Well Played

  4. Dat trunk lid to the head…. Awesome!

  5. I really enjoyed this episode. I liked the Daryl-Merle interaction. I liked the (first?) assault on the prison. I liked the fact that Rick snapped out of his funk enough to fight back when needed.

    However, I do find it interesting that everyone on the show can headshot a zombie at 1,000 yards, but instantly becomes unable to make a shot when the governor is standing completely still in the open. STORMTROOPERS.

    • Walkers don’t shoot back. That was my take on it…having real people blasting at them is something new to the group.

    • I thought about that, but the swing from master marksman to completely incapable of hitting anything (even a completely immobile object) seemed a bit extreme.

    • Yeah, I think the stress of suddenly being attacked by multiple unseen gunmen forcing them to shoot under extreme duress and from less than ideal positions had a lot to do with their marksmanship.

  6. Loved the death of Axel, such a surprise. I was just starting to like him and as soon as he started talking i was like “Oh here comes a funny story about his brother that will endear him to Carol” and then BOOM!

  7. Loved the interaction between Daryl and Merle (+1 Stuclach) and I agree that it is hard to believe that they become stormtroopers when firing at live targets. I totally believe they all have built up the skills to hit a zombie with a headshot at 40 yards every time with a pistol, one-handed. That would be a skill every person that survived 9 months into a zombie apocalypse would have, but not being able to hit live targets does not equate.

    That said, I didn’t find it that surprising that Axel was killed, when slightly background characters start getting more than 3 or 4 lines in an episode, they will die by the end. It’s starting to be predictable.

  8. Who do you think was the driver of the van that dumped in the walkers in the prison yard?

  9. The last ten minutes of this ep were insane. I was getting a little bored throughout the first ep and most of this one, but then the show reminded me why I’m watching it.

    As awesome as this first attack was, I hope it doesn’t lessen the impact of the final throwdown. I was really hoping the Gov would use that tank. *wink*

  10. i literally stood up and yelled “Holy Shit!” at both the Hatchback head smash and the out of the blue Head shot! I also said something similar when the Governor just stood there as bullets hit the door inches from him. What a bad ass!

  11. Hey when Andrea goes to the wall and talks to one of women guards, is that Robert Kirkman next to her?

  12. Gee, with Rick going crazytown and all these walkers around, it sure would be nice to have some backup. Maybe somebody calm, levelheaded, and good with a hammer. If only there was somebody like that on the show! Oh wait a second, THERE WAS AND THEY KICKED HIM TO THE CURB!!!!

    Seriously, we ditched Tyrese just so Rick can wander around all crazy?! I really liked Tyrese and I’m hoping we can see him back very soon.