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Posted at 07:30 AM ET, 11/12/2012

‘The Walking Dead’: American gladiators and widower breakdowns

A weekly analysis of (some of) the gory details in the latest episode of “The Walking Dead.” As always, spoilers ahead.


Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) wearing the official poncho of infant formula discovery. (Russell Kaye - AMC)

Hoo-whee, y’all. After watching this week’s episode of “The Walking Dead,” there is nothing I’d rather do than crack open some microbrews, crank some Skynryd and watch a gladiator fight in which the combatants could get chomped on by a zombie at any moment.

Granted, that’s how I spent last Saturday. But it’s so durn fun — and, as the Governor of Woodbury notes, makes people feel so much better about the whole thing, the whole thing being the zombie-pocalypse and destruction of the Untied States as we once knew it — that I am totally in the mood to settle in for more mano a mano a chained-up walker action.

But I can’t yet. Five matters that were raised by the latest “Walking Dead” — an installment called “Say the Word” — need to be addressed. As soon as I get through those, though, let’s get ready to toothless zombie rumb-lllllllle!

1. So is it weird that the Governor is keeping his zombie daughter alive and kinda sorta treating her like a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay?

Ordinarily, I would say yes. Most people are against the notion of holding children hostage, especially while placing hoods over their heads. But what the Governor is doing with young, unfortunately bite-prone Penny seems similar to what Hershel was doing on his farm — keeping his loved ones alive out of loyalty and, perhaps, the faint hope that some sort of zombie cure can be found. Maybe the experiments that Milton is working on are even directly related to that sense of hope.

None of this means that the Governor is a 100 percent good guy, of course. Michonne is right to be suspicious of him, and I’m not just saying that because she can easily slice a person into five equal portions if provoked. The man’s not forthright and — per the aforementioned gladiator fight, among other things — does not seem entirely mentally stable. Based on his journal entries alone, he had a psychotic break related to Penny, perhaps shortly after she turned, that prompted him to repeatedly write “All work and no play make the Governor a dull boy.”

Okay, the journal didn’t say that. What it actually said was “\\\\\\\\\\” for several pages. But basically, same thing. So in summary, while his pain over the loss of his daughter is understandable, the Governor’s coping mechanisms are highly questionable.

2. Did Michonne do the right thing by leaving?

It makes sense that Andrea wants to stay in Woodbury because, after eight months of living with the Limbless, Zombie Wonder Twins, who wouldn’t want a private room and access to frosty-cold beverages? But moving on seems like the right, albeit sad, choice for Michonne: She wasn’t comfortable there and she can clearly handle herself against a few walkers, as demonstrated in that samurai sword-slicing scene that, for a moment, made “Kill Bill Vol. 1” look like an episode of “The Fresh Beat Band.”

Anyway, it probably doesn’t matter whether it was right or wrong since, per the preview for next week’s episode, it seems like Michonne may be tracked down by Merle pretty soon.

3. What are the odds that Maggie and Daryl would come across an in-home daycare so quickly while searching for formula for baby Grimes?

You know, those odds should be in­cred­ibly slim. Nevertheless, the motorcyle riders just happened to stumble upon a playground and a little rambler chock full of Enfamil to feed baby Grimes, or as Daryl calls her, Little A** Kicker.

Speaking of which, how sad was it when poor Carl ran down the names of the many female characters who have died on this show while trying to come up with a good name for his sister? Pretty heart-breaking.

Weirdly, no one suggested T-Dog, even though that name totally works for a boy or a girl. Racists.

4. What exactly was going on with Rick?


Lori Grimes (Sarah Wayne Callies), before some really nauseating and unfortunate stuff happened to her. (Gene Page/AMC)

Well, let’s just say that Rick did not have access to a pen or paper. But if he did, he probably would have written “/////////////” over and over again for many, many pages.

The death of Lori hit him extremely hard. So he did the natural thing, which is leave his two kids when they need him most — unfortunately, a signature Grimes move — and go searching for the body of his dead wife.

He found it. Unfortunately, it was inside the belly of a very hungry zombie, who didn’t even bother to suck on an after-dinner mint after his dead-pregnant-lady feast. (I’m sorry, I know that’s gross. But I don’t write this show, I just describe the nasty stuff that happens on it. So don’t shoot the messenger. Just shoot a possum and decide that’s what’s for dinner, like Daryl does.)

Without Lori to keep him somewhat centered and filled with purpose, it seems like Rick is dangerously close to putting the group in jeopardy by doing something stupid. Something stupid like . . .

5. Picking up a phone when it randomly rings and telling whoever’s on the other end where they are?

Yeah, that sounds about right. In the preview for next week’s episode — the sixth out of the eight that will air during season three, part one — Rick tells the person on the other end of that phone that rang at this episode’s end that everybody at Chez Jail is dying, which is not true. It just feels true.

So who was he talking to? One of those rescuers that Axel and the other inmates were once convinced would come to save them? The Governor or someone else from Woodbury? A remarkably articulate and non-threatening zombie?

Since I am assuming that the storylines involving the prison and Woodbury will converge before that December/January “Walking Dead” break, I am inclined to go with option B.

But what do you think? Do you think Rick should have answered the phone to begin with? And don’t you feel even worse about all those mean-spirited things you said about Lori’s parenting now that she’s not only dead, but also apparently become Sunday brunch for a walker?

Please, cover these thoughts in the comments. I have a gladiator match to get to, and I’ve got $200 riding on Merle.

By  |  07:30 AM ET, 11/12/2012

Tags:  Walking Dead

 
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