Note: This review and the accompanying comments will contain The Walking Dead episode spoilers. You have been warned.
After spending a week in Woodbury, we check back in at the prison in this episode of AMC’s The Walking Dead, starting with the tease of mystery character chopping the chain off the gates and baiting in zombies with some strategically placed deer carcass. After that, things move fast and rarely let up.
Let’s start with Woodbury, where things are more muted, but still pretty damn interesting. Andrea and Michonne prepare to leave, and the Governor is doing his best to convince both women to stick around. He appeals to Michonne’s badassey and Andrea’s need to belong to, well, something.
Michonne isn’t convinced. She inspects the National Guard’s vehicles, noting the bullet holes and connecting the dots in way that none of these characters could have in season one or two. She even confronts the Governor about this, although not directly. He appears amused by her candor, but I have to feeling that he’s silently moved her from the “potential ally” column of his spreadsheet, to the “dangerous” column. Things are going to come to a head with this character, and Michonne is positioning herself right in the middle.
Of course, the Governor, Phillip if you’re on friendly terms, has a lot more luck with Andrea, who is convinced as much by his easy charm than by the seeming safety offered by Woodbury. She decides to stay another day, maybe two or three. Michonne isn’t happy, but doesn’t seem willing to leave Andrea to her own devices for some reason.
We also get some table setting with Merle. Not only does Andrea give him a map showing everyone’s known last whereabouts – and I have to assume that’s going to play a major role down the road here – he also gets into a disagreement with the Governor. It’s not much, but it’s a potential seed for future strife.
Back in the prison, things start off well enough. Rick stands his ground with the prisoners, and everyone is busy either gathering wood for a giant corpse bonfire, or helping Hershel out with his new prosthetic leg. Of course, things go downhill quickly when the zombies show up, coming in through the opened gate in large numbers. The survivors are split into several different groups, separated by the fences that are supposed to keep them safe.
Some don’t fare terribly well. T Dog and Carol get into trouble early on, and T Dog is bitten. Later he charges a couple of zeds to give Carol a chance to escape, sacrificing himself in the process. Rick and company later find Carol’s babuska, but we don’t see for certain if she survived. Of course the rules of shows like this dictate that, if we don’t see someone get killed, then they’re still alive. This is an important rule, as Rick finds out a little later.
Maggie, Carl, and Lori are pushed farther into the prison, and Lori starts having contractions. Labor comes on almost immediately, presumably due to all the stress, and before you know it she’s trying to push. Unfortunately for her, a regular delivery just isn’t in the cards. After a tearful goodbye to Carl, and a bit of cajoling, Maggie performs the caesarian with a belt knife and no anesthesia. The baby is born and appears to be healthy, but Lori isn’t so fortunate. Maggie swaddles the newborn in a shirt, and Carl is left to ensure his mother doesn’t reanimate. “No more kid stuff,” Rick tells him in a flashback as he draws his pistol. No more kid stuff indeed.
And speaking of Rick, he, Daryl, and those two prisoners race inside to try to turn off the loud sirens, which are bringing in zombies like a dinner bell. They make it to the generator room, only to be attacked by that other prisoner. You know, the one Rick left to be eaten but whom we never actually saw get killed. Well he made it, got himself a fire axe, and is doing his best to get rid of the prison’s latest tenants. After a tussle, he and Rick are at a draw, and another prisoner has Rick’s ridiculous movie gun. I never think for a second that Rick is any danger, but The Walking Dead milks it for what it’s worth, before the prisoner inevitable does the right thing.
It’s a good thing for him too, since Daryl is crouched creepily behind him with a knife, ready to strike.
The crisis over, everyone makes their way back to the yard, with Rick and company discovering the grisly remains of T Dog along the way. After a moment, Maggie and Carl emerge, with a baby and no Lori. Rick collapses in anguish and the episode ends.
It’s a hell of an episode. We get two major character deaths, Rick’s breakdown, a new baby, and Andrea and Michonne getting drawn deeper into whatever the hell is happening in Woodbury. Interestingly enough, I think if you took a random poll of fans, Lori and T Dog would both likely be at or near the top of their least liked characters. Lori’s death was likely always coming; after all you need to break Rick and Carl down as completely as possible before you can build them into something else.
T Dog is a bit more of a surprise, and it makes me think that perhaps the writers are trying to correct the errors of previous seasons of The Walking Dead. Not only are the characters getting smarter and more capable, but the show is slowly shedding the characters and situations that simply do not work. T Dog was a ridiculous character who never had anything to do, and he was always either just sort of there in the background, or given a token line or two to remind us all that he was still around. It’s a shame, because he seems closest to the character of Tyrese from the comic, who was both well developed and interesting in his own right.
At any rate, season three of The Walking Dead continues to impress, not only with solid story telling and characterization, but with the fact that the writers seem to understand what was broken about the show and have a plan to fix it. I can’t wait for episode five. There’s definitely a lot of setup work being done for the season, and we just got a big new piece of drama: how in the world are they going to feed this baby? Unless someone starts lactating soon, they’re going to have to start scrounging Enfamil.
I’m definitely curious to see how long they intersperse the story lines before bringing everyone together in a big happy family reunion.
They kill my new favorite? They must now kill Lori to make it up to me.
And finally.. My wish comes true..
Yours and a lot of other people’s.
I have to say, I liked this death a hell of a lot more than what happened in the comic.
Ditto! She really redeamed herself, or tried to, but I’m glad she is gone. I think this is a good setup for Glen and Maggie.
I don’t know that I’d say she redeemed herself so much as the writers redeemed the mistakes from seasons one and two.
So what does everyone think of what happened to T Dog?
I knew he was going down this season and I am soooooo happy he went out like a boss. His sacrifice to save Carol totally made up for the uselessness we saw last season so kuddos to the writers there. I seriously poured one out for him last night.
I feel about the same, except for the “pouring one out”.
Man, he was becoming my favorite character.. He had slowly become more of a bad ass than Daryl, and went from ignorant to realization.
I’ll miss him, but it seems like both the prisoners will be proving themselves soon. Hopefully the skill sets brought by them will promise some interesting usefulness.
You’re the only person I know who would consider T Dog a potential favorite, at least unironically.
He choose the shield, and the spear.. He there by was the tank of the group, and I know how it feels to be the tank of the group. Everyone knows you as the guy in front willing to risk his neck to get the group through. So he became my favorite when I could recognize with him on this, and there’s always a common bond when it comes to the tanks of the world.
Damn interesting viewpoint, Calicade.
Calicade – that was my same thought. His weapon choice was perfect. Shield to block and control the walker then the spear to kill.
He was really starting to contribute and BAM he’s gone.
I think it’s a shame about T-Dog and I was actually in tears over Lori, but not for her, for the drama that Walking Dead successfully pulled off.
The Lori thing was indeed sad, which is saying something about how much the writing has improved.
Regarding T Dog, what was the shame? His death, or the way the character was developed?
That we lost him. I kindof liked him, but you’re right, he wasn’t that well developed. And without Darrel, he lost one of his foils to “bounce” off of that could have developed him better.
They also pretty much removed the racism thing from Daryl. Not sure about Merle though; I guess we’ll see.
I should have said Dale…. either way…. T-Dog had lost a couple of the characters whom he worked well as a foil off of.
Oh yeah. Dale was a solid foil for him.
“We also get some table setting with Merle. Not only does Andrea give him a map showing everyone’s known last whereabouts – and I have to assume that’s going to play a major role down the road here – he also gets into a disagreement with the Governor. It’s not much, but it’s a potential seed for future strife.”
I am dying to see how this plays out. I keep thinking that the Merle is the same old evil Merle but after tonight’s ep I’m not sure what to expect from him at all. He is scared of the Gov. but is willing to weakly stand up to him. I wanna know which side he’ll fall on when all the cards are on the table.
I’m quite curious myself. Merle was a bad character when he was introduced; he’s already more interesting here. There’s a few ways they can take him, which is awesome.
I saw Slither the other day and the actor is the bad guy (sort of) there too. I kept expecting him to hit his wife or spew racist jargon. I’m not sure whether that’s a compliment to writing or acting. lol
That guy is in quite a lot. He’s a pretty solid character actor. He always reminds me of Mallrats.
Thank the lord Lori is dead! No matter how hard they tried to yank out some tears, I resisted.
I was good until she told Carl that he was the best thing she ever did. The mommy flood gates busted about there.
I think you can dislike a character (immensely, even) and still feel pangs for the people who loved her.
One comment about Carol… I don’t think she’s dead (yet), but her daughter did die “off camera”… Granted, they did that for specific story effect, but it goes to show, this is a series that doesn’t follow the rules. (and it would be kind of poetic for her to die the same way)
Good point about the girl, and the fact that her death was for a specific story reason.
I’m not saying Carol couldn’t have been killed off screen, but I really don’t think she was.