The Walking Dead: “Walk With Me”

Posted on October 29, 2012

We settled into our seats with some satisfaction last night once it became clear that this episode wasn’t going to spend any time with Rick and Co. at the prison. That’s exactly what this story needed at exactly this moment: world-building. It’s actually what the story’s needed since Day One, but it also needed character-building and in a post-apoc, highly speculative story setting, it can be difficult to balance the two out. The audience needs to know what world these characters inhabit, since it’s so different from their own, but it also needs to meet and get to know the people traveling through this story in order to identify with them and understand them. The writers dropped the ball on the latter, mainly because they made almost all of the main characters wholly unlikeable and because they thought marriage drama was a good hook upon which to hang a zombie story. But there are signs this season that some of these people are complex and that once you take baby-daddy drama out of the equation and have them turn and face – and more importantly, DEAL WITH – the world they live in, the story rights itself somehow, and formerly irritating people become people you want to root for. This is why, to us, the main group of characters has become so much more interesting and likable in the confines of that prison; it’s because they’re working hard and working relatively smartly to carve out a corner of the world where they can survive. This is in direct opposition to the feel of last season, when children routinely wandered off into the woods with the adults blundering after them, making lots of noise and having stupid arguments.

But with that part of the story course-corrected (for now), it was high time we got a better look at the world outside the confines of Rick’s small group. It was also high time we got introduced to The Governor, one of the most memorable characters from the books, and it was WAY past time we got a better introduction to Michonne. Unfortunately, we still haven’t gotten enough Michonne to satisfy us. We realize her silent treatment is a big part of her schtick, but even in the static world of graphic novel storytelling, the reader was able to perceive the depths behind her stoic face and the fact that she was carrying deep pain. Last night, we got one too many “What you talkin’ about, Willis” scowls without enough of the sense of danger the character carries. Still; what little Michonne we’re getting seems right on target to us. They haven’t yet done anything that hasn’t served the character well – and Michonne’s treatment at the hands of the writers was going to be a dealbreaker for this season. They don’t get her right; there’s no hope for the rest of the story, in our opinion.

Still, we suppose we got enough, for now. It was good to see Andrea again. For some reason, even though she once again got heavy-lidded at the sight of an alpha male with a streak of fascism in him, she didn’t get on our nerves this time. Maybe because we got the sense of the character’s deep exhaustion, both physical and emotional. Having her rattle off the names of all the people she lost since she last saw Merle was sobering. Remembering that she wasn’t privy to the knowledge that all living people are infected with the walker virus (or whatever) was smart. You had a real sense of her isolation in the past 7 months – and it made you wonder how isolated and ill-informed the rest of the population is.

But the big introduction this episode was The Governor, another highly memorable character from the books; although one that, without getting into the specifics, offers up some challenges for the writers about just how far they’re willing to take this basic cable drama. We feel like we’re getting a far more nuanced take on the character, which is a good and smart writing decision. Unlike in the books, we get here that The Governor is a highly charismatic man; a preternaturally gifted politician, in fact. And you can see not only why he can build a community like Woodbury, but why Andrea (who, as we noted, doesn’t have the best instincts for men) would be so drawn to him and to the work he’s done. We’re still hungrily waiting for more Michonne to be doled out, but we have to say, they’ve done a fantastic job of re-fashioning The Governor for television. We’re dying to see where this story’s going now.

And this must’ve been an A+ episode because we’re at 800 words now and we still haven’t mentioned the return of Merle, the Killer Redneck to the story. At any other time, his re-appearance would have been a bombshell, but now, it’s more like, “Oh, hey Merle. How’s it going?” Sure, he’s still a crazy redneck, but he’s so much more interesting now that he’s in the thrall of someone like The Governor.

This season’s doing it right, so far.

 

 

[Photo Credit: AMC]

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  • http://twitter.com/hmbscully WendyD

    WTF with the heads in the aquariums?!?!?!?!?1  I haven’t read the comics, so I never know what is coming, but I didn’t expect THAT. 

    • http://twitter.com/Kathy_Marlow aka Darth Mommy

       That creeped me the hell out!! What is is deal!!

      • dress_up_doll

        I was a bit freaked out by the head collection as well. I watched The Talking Dead aftershow and they had a nice discussion about it. They also bounced around a few theories which were interesting.

    • KateWo

      In the comics, the governor kills all the new people they encounter and those are their heads. So he’s keeping Michonne and Andrea around to get more info out of them, or considering the preview for next week he tries to get Michonne in on the ‘security’ team.

      • http://twitter.com/hmbscully WendyD

        I wasn’t surprised that he went out and killed all the military guys but the head-keeping is CREEP-TASTIC

      • http://twitter.com/SillyGrrlJen Silly Grrl

         Then I don’t understand why he’d keep Merle alive over some Army folk who I would think be more likely to be helpful than fuckin’ Merle ever was. I also wondered if he kept the women-folk alive for breeding purposes. It would go along with the misogynistic thing he’s got going.

        • turtleemily

          The Army men wouldn’t fall in line with his way of doing things, but Merle’s going to fall all over it.

    • tereliz

      My husband and I were trying to outguess each other, “What’s he looking at/watching?” Old home videos, cameras from all around the town… And what’s with all the batteries behind him? When they finally switched to the heads we just sat there, open mouthed for a minute before we both turned to each and said WTF. 

  • http://twitter.com/iJenmac Jennifer McClory

    One of my friends (who is not familiar with the books) had this to say:
    “I was trying to figure out how he [the Governor] kept Merle in line… I figured it out, by being the craziest mother sucker of all.”  Indeed.
    I have to say, it was nice having a Lori-free evening.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1344922354 Eric Scheirer Stott

      I was also thinking that Mere’s social skills had improved a bit.

  • Deborah Bonner

    yes I found this episode very interesting for all the reasons you mentioned. I think Michonne needs to start practising some new facial expressions though. I got tired last season of all the seemingly incomprehensible actions of people and children blundering off by themselves and still can’t understand why more people did not go to that school with Shane and Otis to get medical supplies for Carl’s surgery. To me Shane’s actions were in some part justifiable since “what else could he have done?’ They would have both died instead of just Otis. I put some of the blame for that outcome on all the others for not going along to help.

    • Jennifer Coleman

      Hey-my Halloween costume this past weekend was Michonne and I made it a point to scowl as much as I could!

  • Melissa Kerrigan

    I also enjoyed a glimpse at Woodbury and The Governor.  Not having read the comics, I shudder to think what will happen when Rick’s group meets up with these people.  Also, what is up with the tea? I’m thinking it’s not Earl Grey.

    • mjude

      i watched talking dead last night & one of the producers said the tea is a nod to one of the writers on the show.  even so i found that “tea scene” creepy.

      • Melissa Kerrigan

        Yes, I also watched Talking Dead last night.  I think there is more to it than just a nod to one of the writers.  I’ll be even more convinced of its significance if it is mentioned again in a future episode.  Just a hunch!

  • KateWo

    Yeah, I wondered about the tea too…I’m thinking there is some drugging and brain washing going on to control the townspeople

    • Melissa Kerrigan

      Some people on another forum thought the tea was what the zombie heads were “steeping” in.  *throwing up in my mouth*  

      • Karyn Washington

        …i wish i hadn’t read that WHILE drinking my own cup of tea…

  • mjude

    great episode. looking forward when woodbury & the prison collide.  the governor reminded me of that freak jim jones.  very creepy. 

    • MilaXX

       YES! but replace kool aide for tea

      • mjude

        omg…that is even more creepy!  LOL

  • baxterbaby

    As much as I enjoyed this episode (A+ indeed), I found myself getting distracted by Andrea’s hair :).  Just look at that picture above. Perfect highlights, perfect beachy waves, sooo shiny.  It’s nice to know that it’s possible to have this level of grooming in a zombie apocalypse!

    • ShivaDiva

      I guess the previous looters were after the aspirin more than the Pantene Pro!

    • http://onebluetree.blogspot.ca/ Sara L.

       It’s funny, I don’t watch the show (severely low tolerance for gore) but I love reading the recaps here, and the first thing I thought of when I saw that picture was “Wow, the zombie apocalypse is good for the follicles, evidently.”

    • http://twitter.com/SillyGrrlJen Silly Grrl

       Exactly. Just like Hershel is the only one with a homeless beard while the rest of the dudes have stubble. WTF?

      • Mismarker

        The hair situation bothers me as well.  Obviously, Hershel don’t give a poop anymore and has let himself go.  But seriously, I really (really) want to see Rick Grimes a little more scruffed out.  Holy moly, that man is hot.  

  • ShivaDiva

    Nice to see that, for once, the slight divergence from the source material might actually be an improvement.  I remember during season one when people were guessing that Merle became the Governor — mainly because of what happens to him, and how it parallels what happens to someone else later.  At the time they poo-pooed that theory, but now that he’s actually shown up WITH the Governor, I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the original plan before everyone caught onto it.  This version is potentially much better.

    More Michonne!  I agree 100%.

  • MilaXX

    I liked a prison free episode, but I had a few problems with this episode. I haven’t read the comic books but even i knew the Governor was trouble the moment I saw him. They’ve been doing a much better job of writing the female characters this season, i was hoping that would extend to Andrea as well. Wasn’t she a lawyer before this? How could she not look at the Governor and not see his politician like BS?  How could she be lulled into believing Woodbury was a good place after barely surviving the farm? I just think I would have trouble trusting anything but small groups after that. Also I am rooting for Michonne to be bad ass, but I hated that last night all she did was scowl and demand her sword back. Not very subtle. Lastly, can those who have read the comics explain the pets without giving too much away because the doctor or scientist guy’s explanation didn’t make any sense.  He said something about how once their jaws and arms are
    removed, they become docile and don’t want to attack anymore. Except
    the whole reason that Michonne had to behead them was because they were
    straining at their chains to get at the search group. And if they were
    wanting to get at the search group, then A.) They weren’t docile and B. They should have been straining to get at Michonne and Andrea, too.

    So on one hand I liked the episode until I thought about it. I think I’m more interested to see what happens when the Governor  and co. meet Rick and co.

    One last thing. Did anyone else get suspicious of the tea? I was darn near getting soylent green vibes the way they kept offering it. at the very least I was wondering if it was drugged with mild sedatives to keep everyone docile.

    • lalagigi

      “Tuesday is Soylent Green day”

    • turtleemily

      Lastly, can those who have read the comics explain the pets without
      giving too much away because the doctor or scientist guy’s explanation
      didn’t make any sense.

      From what I remember, that excuse wasn’t given in the comics. And I took it as speculation on Milton’s part since he never saw the zombies in action. I think the “docility” had more to do with the do-they-remember-who-they-were conversation, and I’m assuming the show is going to say who the pet zombies had been at some point in the next episode or two since that’s a huge part of Michonne’s story. I’m hoping for a flashback of her when the outbreak started.

    • Jennifer Coleman

      Actually, I think the writers were screwing with the readers of the comics because they frequently went right up to an explanation of a lot of Michonne’s backstory and refused to spill. It was quite frustrating, in a cool way. I do think that Michonne saying very little other than demanding her Kitana back was true to form because she doesn’t trust these people. And, she is such a badass, she has no time for socialization. In fact, I was surprised she didn’t whack Andrea on the head once or twice for prattling on like she did.

      Maybe the smell of fresh blood was agitating the pets? I’m not sure if that scene was set to get rid of the pets before getting to Woodbury. Her introduction to the story has been adjusted from the comics. I’m thinking that there will be more discussion of the doctor’s hypothesis and why they were so agitated at the end. One subtle difference in the show is that some the zombies seem to have some sort of memory of their past lives – like when the mom in the 1st episode came back to her house. 

      And regarding Woodbury – be suspicious of everything.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1344922354 Eric Scheirer Stott

        I’m not going to post an outright spoiler, but you can find out about Michonne and her two zombies at this link: http://walkingdead.wikia.com/wiki/Michonne_%28Comic_Series%29

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KFD4YODYT6N2NNTE7ZAHJWQXCM Deirdre

      While it may just be a bit of bad writing, my reasoning for why Andrea was so quick to want to settle down was that she is just plain tired. Maybe Michonne has more of a reason for being skeptical (haven’t read the comics), but isn’t everyone just searching for a place to live, for a sense of normalcy? She should know better, but all that surviving must get exhausting.

      • MilaXX

        I understand exhaustion, but after the farm I’d be giving anything that looks too good to be true some serious side eye.

  • Presumptuous Insect

    Colonel Brandon from Sense and Sensibility has gone all skinny and crazy!

  • http://twitter.com/Goldielox73 Goldie

    A bit spoilery but does anyone pay attention to the opening credits?  One of the main characters is listed as a guest star instead of a series regular.  Doesn’t bode well for their survival.

  • SorayaS

    That whole Stepford vibe was incredibly creepy to me- it stuck with me after the episode! I thought it was weird there were no women included in the security (and we must have seen 10 people between the wall-guarding and the army scene- considering our gang has 1 female in their security detail of 5 I feel it’s significant that there were no women) and as soon as I saw the pregnant lady I thought of 28 Days Later- GET OUT OF THERE!!!

    • http://twitter.com/reedaboutme Ashley Reed

       I got a MAJOR 28 Days Later vibe from the pregnant lady, too. I kept telling my boyfriend – THEY’RE GONNA GET RAPED!!! Ugh. This show really gives me anxiety.

      • cornpicker73

        I keep getting nervous about rapes, too. Because you KNOW that would be a huge issue in the real Apocalypse.  I guess we’ll find out if The Gov encourages some sort of forced breeding or is anti-rape or whatever. Gah. Shudder.

    • HobbitGirl

      The pregnant lady made me remember Lori’s worries a few episodes ago — what happens if the baby dies in the birth process? ZOMBIE INFANTS!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001998855370 Fatima Siddique

    So, this is where Merle was the whole time. I haven’t read the graphic novels, so my theory had been that the walkers had made him their king. 

    • http://twitter.com/Goldielox73 Goldie

      Merle and Daryl aren’t in the comic though I hear rumors that Daryl may be soon.  I haven’t read them either but I check out the Walking Dead wiki a lot.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Spodick/100000711112594 John Spodick

    The one thing that did NOT ring true is that supposedly, Laurie and Michonne have been together now for 7-8 months.  Laurie is waaaaay too annoying to let that much time go by without pestering Michonne about her backstory.  

  • http://twitter.com/reedaboutme Ashley Reed

     Agh, I can’t resist a spoiler (even though I HATE them!) and I’m so annoyed with myself for reading what I did of her page there. I resisted the urge to investigate the rest of the wiki, though!

  • cornpicker73

    I haven’t read the books, either. I felt it was a tad cliched– like Stepford Wives, etc. Someplace that looks so idyllic (well, as idyllic as can be in the zombie apocalypse) but underneath there is EVILLLLLLLLLLLLL! I half expected The Gov to bust out in a maniacal laugh here and there. He’s using the ZA to great effect to control the peeps and keep them supplied, and to keep growing his head collection (I was LOL at the end when he goes into his man cave to admire his heads– ok, we get it, he is EVIL). 

    Otherwise, totally agree that it was great to see what was happening meanwhile elsewhere, and to see a subdued-by-The-Gov Merle back in play. Enjoying the season so far!