The Walking Dead: “Say the Word”

Posted on November 12, 2012

We admit, when they put little LoriSophiaCarolePatriciaEverydeadfemalecharacter in Darryl’s arms and she quieted down almost immediately, we rolled our eyes a little at the obvious ploy to get ladyboners springing all over the viewership.

We’re doing another one of our very fractured recaps here, but this was a somewhat fractured episode – although that’s not necessarily a bad thing. There are two parallel stories going on – Woodbury and the prison – and this episode only moved the plot forward slightly. Not much happened on either front. We’re a bit surprised at how well the fractured storytelling is working this season. We assumed Michonne and Andrea would be integrated into Rick’s group by now, thinking that you couldn’t tell two different stories in two different settings and keep the audience’s interest, but it’s working really well by playing against expectations. Woodbury is a prison that looks like paradise and the prison is a safe haven that’s turned out to be hell on earth – for Rick, at least.

To be honest, we found ourselves getting annoyed with Rick this episode. Pull it together, buddy. You’ve got two kids to take care of; one that’s going to starve to death unless someone does something about it and another one who’s scarred for life. Granted, if there’s one character who’s earned a little crazy time at the moment, it’s Rick.

What really made this episode appealing to us – in a pulling-teeth-out-with-pliers kind of way – was that this was the first time in a long time, possibly ever, that we looked at the main characters and thought, “Hey, we really like these people.” It had something to do with the fact that the prison group almost wordlessly came together to keep Little Asskicker alive. There was no question that she needed formula to survive and not a moment of hand-wringing over how they were going to get it and who was going to go. We especially liked it when Glen didn’t stand in Maggie’s way when she insisted on going with Darryl. He understood what it meant to her and he trusted her to do everything in her power to stay alive and come back to him. She and Darryl made a surprisingly good team in that abandoned school/daycare center and there was something about that scene with the possum, and the ease that the two of them had working as a unit that really got to us. It’s such a turnaround from last season’s in-fighting and general stupidity. There’s no way anyone can survive in this world without smartening up a bit and we appreciate that the writing conveys that without hitting us over the head with it.

And speaking of smartening up, here’s Andrea, not doing it. We’ve been annoyed with her horrible instincts, but when you cut from the horror of the prison to the relative peace of Woodbury, it’s hard not to see her point of view. Sure, she was slowly starting to realize that something wasn’t quite right in Woodbury even before she saw the gladiator games, but there was obviously a part of her that needed to tamp down her unease in exchange for some cold lemonade and a feeling of security. We can’t say we blame her all that much, even if it is a little frustrating. Besides, we have to remember that we know a lot more about the situation (although not nearly enough to figure out what the hell’s going on) than she does. On the surface, The Governor is charismatic and seems to have the best interests of the townspeople at heart, even if, under the surface, and hidden from all eyes, he’s got a room full of severed heads in fish tanks and a zombie daughter in a strait jacket.

And as for Michonne, we’re happy to say that the writers haven’t fucked this character up at all, which was something we feared greatly going into this season. She’s smart, badass, and fun to watch. Even better, we have no idea what she’s going to do next.

So yeah, not a complete story told in one hour of television, but it was still an engrossing hour, because we finally care about what happens to these people. And we never thought we’d say this, but we really hope Carole’s not dead. That right there should tell you something about how much the writing’s improved this season because she was one of the most irritating characters in a group full of irritating characters.

It’s kind of funny how no one’s really mourning Lori, though. Guess they didn’t like her anymore than we did. Well, we suppose you could call what Rick is doing at the moment “mourning, but it looks more like a case of taking a vacation from sanity for a while.

 

[Photo Credit: AMC]

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