Things quickly go to hell at the prison
If I can give this week’s episode of The Walking Dead one compliment, it would be unexpected- and I use that in the worst sense of the word. The first three episodes of this season have been top notch, so much so that it quickly was becoming my favorite season, but this episode felt like it tried to pack in too much, which included some big decisions and some random, but not totally unexpected deaths.
First off, let us discuss the side story of Andrea, Michonne and the Governor. After some interesting reveals last week about the Governors, let us say, lifestyle, I was a bit disappointed that there was no follow up to this. Instead we received the charming, goody-good figure in which Andrea has become so very fond of. This was the most interesting aspect of the Woodbury story this week for Andrea has clearly fallen for the Governor. It was almost heartwarming and slightly ironic to see this little game of cat and mouse unfold between Andrea and the Governor, as she tries so hard to discover his deeper being, all the while Michonne has uncovered some damming evidence as to his character. Still what sold me on the character, and what evidently sold Andrea as well, was the revelation that his name is Philip. Such a simple and truthful spoke volumes about the character. While he may be playing Andrea, I believe he may have some honest feelings for the woman, which will make it all together more difficult when Andrea undoubtedly uncovers what kind of man he is. It will be interesting to see how this plays out, especially with Andrea and Michonne planning to leave Woodbury quite soon.
Another brief aspect of the Woodbury story that captivated me was the back and forth between Merle and the Governor. After asking to go and find his brother and being immediately told no by the Governor, I thought Merle would instantly lash out, but alas no. The Governor truly has Merle on a leash, however sooner or later he is going to have to release him or fear the leash breaking. Furthermore, it was kind of nice to see sleazy Merle return, with his question to Andrea. Although I was not a big fan of racist Merle, he did have his merits, as strangely creepy as they they were.
Meanwhile, while all of this was occurring in Woodbury some pretty heavy handed stuff occurred at the prison. After having some speculation as to who was watching Carol in the courtyard some episodes back, I was disappointed to find out that it was the inmate that Rick left to die who was causing the ruckus. It would have been a nice opportunity for the writers to begin Woodbury’s discovery of the prison, but alas no. Instead we got an inmate with a grudge, who quickly received a bullet to the head thanks to Oscar, one of the other surviving inmates alongside Axel. I felt like the only two reasons this occurred were to: allow Rick to somewhat trust the remaining inmates, and kill off some fan hated characters- and they certainly accomplished this in droves.
Let us be honest, T-Dog was not much of a character. For one his name was only mentioned once and it was to Dale in one season two episode (Theodore Douglas to let you know, although I hoped for them to find out it was Tyreese) . It was felt like such a shame too because for the first time since this season began T-Dog actually said more than a sentence, let alone came to clash with Rick in some manner. When he told Rick that it was unfair to keep the inmates locked up, I had some semblance of hope that maybe he would come to aid Rick to build up the prison and even help both groups work together. But, this turned out to be a cruel joke by the writers as halfway through the walker outbreak T-Dog is bit saving Carol and instanetaneoulsy became what some would call royally f*cked. After two seasons of very little to do I had hope that maybe, just maybe this season would be T-Dogs season. We would get some intriguing background, some great moments between him and the group and maybe him kicking some serious ass. Instead we got little more than a bite on the shoulder, as valiant as his purpose was in trying to aid Carol, and a bloody mess of a meal. To ramble on a bit more here, I honestly think they killed off T-Dog because Irone Singleton, the actor who plays him, was getting tired of it. With very little to do in terms of characterisation and dialogue I would too. That being said, wouldn’t it be ironic if they found a diary in T-Dog’s pocket of him pitifully writing down that he has been trying to explain to the group that he found the cure for the outbreak and yet no one would listen. Wouldn’t that be a good ol’ fashioned kick to the balls?
Sadly T-Dog was not the only death in this episode. However, like T-Dog’s the other two “deaths” were terribly handled. I say death in quotations as Carol is not really dead. We all know it. As soon as a character supposedly dies off screen, you know they are still alive. I mean didn’t this episode come to prove this full-heartedly with that one inmate surviving? However the “big” death of the episode was Lori’s, and to be honest I was pissed. Over these last few episodes they have really been trying to redeem Lori as a human being- both in the eyes of Rick and the audience. However, Lori’s death felt like one big joke, for after weeks of characterisation it came to be all for naught. This may have been the intention, leaving Rick with unanswered “What If’s” as to his future relationship with Lori, but having her die so soon this season makes me wonder where it will go from here. Lori’s death in the comics was a huge moment as it marked the true evil of the Governor, yet here it has no deeper meaning for Rick. The only one it has meaning to is Carl, who had to actually kill his mother, which I will say was very saddening, as was Rick’s equally depressing reaction to discovering this. I comprehend that it was a means for the character of Carl to evolve, but I think there could have been a way to incorporate both Carl and Rick in her death scene and have it mean much more. I mean if Rick would have been there, and he could not follow through with killing his wife, but Carl could, that would have been a dramatic shift between who is a stronger leader and more so who is the child now? Instead we got two stories going on at the same time, both of which were equally predictable.
While I did find Lori’s death to be quite unnecessary this early on, it will be interesting to see how Rick comes to take care of his new child, and more importantly how he views that child as the last, bitter memory he will have of his wife. I can’t see Rick being the most fit parent, I mean he just lost his wife, but perhaps this child could bring some newfound joy to some other survivors like Maggie and Glenn, or better yet (obviously alive) Carol, who lost her daughter last season. It is an interesting plot point, for after so much death perhaps this nefound life will bring joy to one or many of the survivors lives.
After three weeks of solid episodes, the Walking Dead hit a roadblock and for all the wrong reasons. While these big death sequences could have kept the flow going, the manner in which they occurred and how soon they occurred just made them feel forced, as if for shock value. Hopefully, the next episode is able to pick up the pieces, and will further lead the show in a darker, bolder, direction.