Thoughts on The Walking Dead: Say the Word

All work and no play makes Rick a dull boy

So far this season of The Walking Dead has been a great success. While there have been one or two hiccups, particularly last week’s massacre at the prison, so far this season has wonderfully been able to blend the comics and new material into forty-five minutes of sheer excitement. Say the Word picked up the pace once again, even though it had alot of ground to cover.

As a fan of the comics, I was unsure of how they would bring the Governor and Woodbury to the screen. Over the last few weeks we have seen little cracks in the Governors persona, leaving everyone except Andrea to start speculating as to who this man really is. Well the beginning of this episode certainly blew the hinges of that door, revealing the Governors creepy relationship with his daughter, who as it turn out is a walker. This felt like it was ripped from the pages of the comic book, as the Governor brushes her hair before placing a burlap sack over her head, kissing her forehead, and putting her away, as if she were some demented children’s doll. However what made this truly creepy was the sheer love he shows for her, even as she tries to gnaw at him. More so than in the comics, I felt sympathy for the man. After losing so much, he still tries to hold onto the past- even if that past is trying to eat him alive.

All of this sheer creepiness led to some big moments for Michonne. After seeing the Governor with his daughter, Michonne decided to do some snooping of her own, only to find not just one, but multiple biters caged up in a secluded section of Woodbury. After discovering all this, I love how she nonchalantly opens up the cages and dices them up within a matter of seconds. This scene was both brutal and plain awesome as Michonne made cheese strings out of the walkers. And after all this, you would think that Andrea would be convinced that something is wrong in Woodbury, but alas no. I don’t know why, but the writers are purposefully making Andrea look stupid now. After being told that no one can leave Woodbury without permission and Michonne’s little slice n’ dice with the walkers you would think that she would be packed up and ready to leave, but still no.

Thankfully the little gladiatorial show that the Governor put on rightfully woke her up. The scene, once again, felt like a direct comic book adaptation only with different characters. It was brutal, relentless and absolutely horrifying to see all those people in the crowd sheer. However, what really freaked me out, as it seems to have Andrea, was when the father put his son on his shoulders to see the action as if it were a carnival. This perfectly depicted the dark new world that these people live in. Rather than seek to ignore it, as Rick and his group do, these people have come to embrace it.

Back at the prison, it was interesting to see the aftermath of what occurred now that a large part of the group is dead. As Rick, descended into madness, it was nice to see a new leader emerge in Daryl. Of all the new characters introduced, Daryl is my favorite. He is just so resourceful and able to think on his feet, even more so than Rick. It was great to see him become so keen on protecting the newborn baby. Plus, he and Maggie made milk runs look fun all the while kicking ass. Plus how about that poncho. If there was one thing I was worried about it was poncho’s surviving the apocalypse. Thank goodness Daryl has the style to bring them back. Never the less, it was also nice to see a softer side to him as he put the flower on Carol’s grave, who is still obviously not dead.

This leads to a quick issue I had with the episode. While Daryl hunts, and Rick descends into darkness, it seemed necessary for someone to be planning the graves. However, this scene came off rather poorly, as Glenn and Hershel share stories about T-Dog and how he saved so many people when the outbreak began. For a character in which the writers did not give a damn about, nor did fans, why do they now decide to include this stuff about him? In no way does this make the character appear better in the eyes of fans- it just makes him look all together more foolish. I mean thank goodness T-Dog was so amazing before Rick came along, but once Rick did T-Dog decided to become immediately useless. Even in death, T-Dog manages to come off as a terrible character. Also let’s hope that someone other than Dale knew his real name, or else his gravestone is going to look dumb if it simply says “T-Dog”.

While there were some minor issues with this episode, they do not hinder what is arguably the best part of this episode, and that was Rick. His descent into madness was gruesome, horrifying and sad. The way he simply picks up the axe without a word and nothing but a dead look in his eyes, and walks into the prison was terrifying. What made it worse was the sheer brutality in which he killed the walkers. This was not for protection or self defense- this was killing for the sake of killing. Andrew Lincoln did a marvelous job in these scenes, showing that Rick is a man with nothing to lose, all the while only saying one word as the episode reaches its end.   “Hello,” Rick says as he picks up the ringing phone.  Such a simple word that will change the course of this season forever.

While last week’s episode struggled to pack everything into one episode, “Say the Word” got this season back on track. With some messy walker kills and some game-changing character moments, this episode aptly showcased these characters at some of the more difficult parts in their lives. I would say it is darkest just before the dawn, however for these survivors dawn is a long ways off.