TV Review: The Walking Dead: Say the Word

Note: This review and the accompanying comments will contain The Walking Dead episode spoilers. You have been warned.

A lot happened in the last episode of AMC’s The Walking Dead, and a good deal of this episode is spent dealing with the repercussions. Glenn digs graves, Daryl and Maggie hunt down bottles and formula, Carl thinks about all the women in the group to be killed, and Rick goes coo-coo-bananas. And then there’s Woodbury, which is developing along at a slightly different pace. Let’s start with Woodbury.

The Walking Dead Episode 305

Michonne and Andrea begin the episode as complete opposites, with Andrea embracing the seeming good life at Woodbury, while Michonne pokes around in the shadows to find out what’s really going on. After Michonne discovers a bunch of zombies chained up behind a building, she slaughters them, and is captured. The Governor seems to give her an out, but she grabs her katana and holds it to his throat for a while before storming out.

Andrea tries to calm both parties, but Michonne’s mind is made up. She leaves, and Andrea stays. That night, Andrea gets her long-overdue wake up call that all might not be so great at Woodbury: staged fights ringed with chained up zombies, and the crowd loves it.

As a viewer, it’s hard to not get irritated with Andrea. There’s clearly something not right here, and he friend with damn good instincts senses that right away. But Andrea ignores this, insisting that this is the peace and safety she’s been looking for.

One thing we have to keep in mind is that we have a much different perspective than Andrea. We’ve seen the Governor murder the National Guardsman, and brush his creepy zombie daughter’s hair; we’ve also seen his “All work and no play” notebook, which Michonne is oddly quiet about when trying to convince Andrea to leave. We’re watching a show, and we know that the narrative structure means the he has to be a bad guy. She doesn’t benefit from all this. I’m willing to give her the benefit of the doubt to a point, but I’m glad she finally came around after witnessing the fights. There’s naivety, and there’s willful ignorance, and he character has been toeing the line for a while now.

Speaking of the fights, I was a little surprised by them. As a reader of the comic, I wondered whether they would show up, but as we’ve seen a fair bit of Woodbury with no signs of gladiatorial combat, I figured the show was going to skip it altogether. I’m not sure how I feel about them, now that I’ve seen them. They definitely give the show more of a comic feel, and – at face value – they’re pretty cool. But on the other hand, I have a hard time matching up the quiet neighborhood picnic in episode’s cold open to the wanton public violence to the fights at the end. Of course, I might say the same about the Roman forum versus the Colosseum.

This leaves Andrea in an interesting situation. Michonne is gone (for now, anyway), and Andrea is no longer walking around with the wool over her eyes.  She’s got not protection or support, and the Governor knows she’s thinks things are messed up here. Things are likely to go poorly for Andrea here soon.

Back at the prison, we’ve got a few things going on. Glenn is digging graves (three of them, interestingly enough), and the two surviving prisoners (Axel and Oscar) offer to help. Glenn begrudgingly accepts, and then pointedly tells Hershell that he wishes they had simply slaughtered the prisoners when they met them. He goes on to say that he’d happily trade a score of lives for anyone in the group. It’s that sort of pointed, on-the-nose dialog that makes me wish everyone would just shut up for a while and get back to killing zombies.

The problem is that characters on The Walking Dead rarely have conversations like normal people. They don’t talk, they simply vomit out facts and emotions in a way that’s completely unnatural (I would also argue it’s a little out of character, but I suppose that was the point). Thankfully, this is kept to a minimum, and the show keeps pushing us back into action and horror, where it excels.

The interesting thing about this scene is that three graves are dug. We have Lori and T Dog dead for certain, but Carol’s fate hasn’t be addressed. We found her scarf, and the other characters assume she was killed, but this feels off to me. Like I said in last week’s review, with a show like this we have to see a person being killed to know they are really dead (Sophia being an exception because he off-camera death setup the arc for the first half of Season Two). Is she dead? Possibly. I can’t imagine expending all that energy digging a grave for someone who might still be alive, especially since calories are at a premium. I guess we’ll find out soon.

Daryl and Maggie team up this week to find formula for Rick and Lori’s baby, and find themselves in a super creepy abandoned day care center. Not a ton to report on here, they find formula, kill a possum, and Daryl rocks an awesome poncho. They get back, and feed the baby (a ridiculously large bottle; a newborn wouldn’t eat a fifth of that).

That leaves Rick, who deals with his grief by grabbing an ax and killing a whole mess of zombies. Glenn tries to bring the man back outside with the group, but he’s violently spurned. Rick languishes in his grief and rage without a word, until he finds the room where Lori died. Inside is a zombie with a distended abdomen, presumably full of chewed up bits of Lori. Rick shoots it in the mouth, then pulls out a pocket knife, immediately reminding me of Daryl in season two looking for evidence of Sophia. Instead of dissecting it, however, he just stabs it a few times before throwing himself to the floor.

And then, the phone rings (comic readers, don’t spoil this bit for everyone).

“Say the Word” was a fairly solid episode of The Walking Dead, but it hard a few moments that completely took me out of the moment. The show has come a long ways this season, but we see here that it is still trying to overcome some of its weaknesses.

Grade: 3.5 zombie heads out of 5



SO.. They found formula for what? The next few weeks? They’ll need to get back to looking as soon as possible.


Yeah, those two tubs of formula won’t last too long. Newborns don’t eat a lot, but it will still go fast.


Daryl would be the Eldin stand in, obviously.

And instead of Dan Quayle, there are zombies.


You miss the part about Daryl putting a flower on what I assume was Carol’s grave, if she’s not dead, did they dig a grave just for a scarf?? I thought they would have cared more about her missing, unless they found her…very odd. Overall good episode.


Was that in the episode itself, or the teaser for next week? I couldn’t remember in the morning when I wrote the review, but I thought it was in the teaser.


It was in the episode proper? Hell, I should have addressed that. Apologies.


Hmm, I think it was, but I’m not 100%. Either way, HUGE cliffhanger right there. I think she’s not dead, maybe she got trapped in a cell while she was running away from the zombies or something?


Funny you mention that, Jaczor, my wife and I were thinking the same thing: it’s a prison, it wouldn’t be hard to accidentally lock yourself in someplace.


No I don’t think so since at the time we see 3 graves Rick is still inside going all primeval so nobody would know about the bloated zombie.

All I know is I have managed to stay spoiler free this season and its been a nice experience! Either being extra careful has paid off, or people who have read the comic (Walking Dead Hipters) finally realize nobody cares what they think about how it compares to the comic.


hmmm….suddenly I am wondering if Lori is even dead.

– Nobody checked a pulse
– Carl could have shot at anything


Watch out, the comic fans have a massive want to spoil that phone thing. I’ve heard people talking about it twice at work now.


Yeah, the emphasis on graves was somewhat off. One body accounted for, the other, is implied that is half consumed by engorged xee, third person just gone with no indication as to what happened or where.

Yay! for Daryl for being such a snuggle bunny with the baby. Conversely, we all know he really a softie, so where was his gief after Carol’s demise/disappearance? The flower symbolizes a “hope she returns” yet, we’re back to, then why a grave?

The zeelimpic games actually make sense. In the comics they establish the malevolence of The Governor from the get go. Here, he seems “merely” your standard control freak try to adapt in his own icky way.

The Prison milieu seems to be working really well; the Steppford Wives/The Village (original The Prisoner) milieu isn’t quite working for me. It seems more Acceptable Evil, rather than “unimagiably” evil. Tho, I do like this version of The Governor.


The three graves thing is extremely puzzling. We have 1.5 corpses, as Louis noted. Are they going to bury Carol’s babushka? Because that seems like a waste of a lot of time and effort, and a perfectly good scarf.


Might as well dig an extra in case you need one. And according to the director of the episode, Lori got eaten. Which is still icky.


“And according to the director of the episode, Lori got eaten.” I didn’t know that, although it makes sense given the zed with the giant belly.


Yeah, but digging it and filling it again without a body doesn’t make any sense.

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