TV Review: The Walking Dead: Hounded

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

We covered a lot of ground in last night’s The Walking Dead, so let’s just dive right in. Since Woodbury was introduced, conflict between them and the prison has been a foregone conclusion. At some point, these two groups were going to meet up, and it was going to be ugly.

AMC's The Walking Dead Episode 306 - Hounded

We start off with a bang. Merle and three lackeys are out in the woods, looking for everyone’s favorite katana wielding super woman, and come across a grisly message from Michonne. One of the lackeys gets a per talk from Merle after showing some doubt. Unable to pronounce his name, or more than likely just too lazy, Merle calls the man Neal, and brings him in line straight away. It’s a good thing too, because Michonne shows up, leaping out of a tree and attacking. One lackey is decapitated, the other stabbed and used as a human shield. Neal makes it through unscathed.

Michonne, however, isn’t too lucky; she takes a round in the thigh. Although I guess she is pretty lucky, since she’s still able to get around just fine, despite the bullet through her leg. There’s a lot of important stuff in your thigh, like large muscle groups and an interesting little guy called the femoral artery. Had Merle’s shot clipped that artery, it would have been bye-bye Michonne, but we’re not quite done with her yet.

Motivating Neal further, Merle pursues her into the woods, where they have a katana/arm-bayonet fight for a second, before all the zombies show up to ruin their day. Michonne manages to escape, covering herself in zombie-flavored viscera in the process. Neal steps up to the plate and saves Merle. He’s got his confidence back now, and he’s ready to do whatever needs to be done to hunt down this rogue woman. Unfortunately for him, Merle’s ready to call it a day, so poor Neal gets shot in the face.

It’s a great moment. We know it’s coming, but Merle’s deliver is outstanding. “Do you hear that bird?” he asks with only the briefest of pauses, before putting a bullet through the young man’s head. Although, for what it’s worth, I did hear that bird.

Merle, it bears mention, has gone through a lot of changes just like a lot of other characters on the show. When we last saw him, he was a racial-epithet spewing walking racist cartoon. The new Merle is much more grounded in reality, and also a hell of a lot more fun to watch. He’s still a bad guy, but he’s traded the poorly written bigotry for manic scenery chewing, and The Walking Dead is better off for it.

Back at the prison, we get an answer to the phone riddle much sooner than I would have thought. Since I’ve read a good deal of the comic, I knew what was coming here. I expected the show to tease it out over a few episodes, but the whole things gets wrapped up in one. Of course, that might not be the end of the phone (comic spoiler: it wasn’t in the comic), but the big mystery is sorted out much quicker than I would have thought.

It’s a big moment for Rick. In his anguish, Rick leaves Carl and Baby X to the care of the rest of the group, and crawls into a hole of bitterness and anger. The phone calls pull him out. They allow him to process Lori’s death, and all his guilt around it, quickly. Because let’s face it, in the zombie apocalypse, you simply won’t have time to mourn for weeks at a time. There’s the business of survival at hand, ignore it to your peril.

Rick emerges and reunited with his children, holding his daughter for the first time and accepting the responsibilities he’s inherited. Whether he’ll lead with any sort of wisdom remains to be seen.

Interestingly, Rick tells Hershel about the calls, and the old man offers to stay and wait with Rick, but it declined. He picks up the phone and listens briefly to the receiver, but we get no indication of what he’s thinking. One assumes that there is no dial tone, and Hershel know’s Rick is messed up, but he says nothing. Look for this one to come back up down the road.

We also get a nice moment with Daryl and Carl, as they and one of the inmates clear out a cell block. Daryl tells the story of how he lost his mom (possibly one of the most white trash deaths I can think of, at least of those that don’t start with “Hey guys, watch this”), while Carl can tell someone that he had to kill his mother. After they take out a zombie, with two shots and a crossbow bolt, Daryl finds Carol’s knife stuck in its throat. He stays behind, kicking the walls and stabbing the floor as he processes his own grief.

Of course, it’s revealed – to the surprise of no one – the Carol is very much alive. Why she didn’t cry out, or make some sign that she was alive, is an interesting mystery. Hopefully we’ll find out soon.

Back in Woodbury, Andrea is cozying up with the Governor. She asks for and receives wall duty, and it left under the less-than-capable tutelage of a character that seems to exist just to make a Hunger Games joke. Although I must admit that girl’s lack of archery skills got a chuckle out of me.

That night, Andrea admits that she liked the fights after all, which took my by surprise. Then she and the Governor get romantic, which wasn’t quite so surprising.

Andrea is another character that is going through a lot of changing and evolving into her own agency. She’s much more interesting and less annoying than she has been in past seasons (still kind of annoying though), but she’s not exactly making the best decisions here. Her sleeping with the Governor recalls her hooking up with Shane. The girl must have a thing for dangerously crazy men.

Their romantic interlude is interrupted, briefly, by Merle. He has arrived back to report Michonne’s death and his new prisoners. He came across Glenn and Maggie as they were doing a supply run, where he learns that Daryl is still alive. Glenn, wisely not trusting the man, refuses to bring Merle back to the prison, but he doesn’t quite have the sense to shoot the man before he runs in a grabs Maggie. Merle tells the Governor that they look healthy, which means they must have a pretty good setup somewhere. Things aren’t looking good for Glenn and Maggie.

This paragraph contains spoilers from the comic, if you don’t want to be spoiled, skip ahead. I have to say, I’m more than a little worried about this development. In the comic version of The Walking Dead , the Governor tortures Glenn, Rick, and Michonne quite severely, and Michonne is beaten and raped with Glenn there to hear the whole thing. Since Michonne has escaped Woodbury, I had hoped this wouldn’t end up happening in the show, but now I’m thinking Maggie is going to inherit this fate. I can stomach a lot of wanton violence, but rape turns my stomach. I really hope AMC finds a good medium ground here.

There is, of course, another witness to Merle’s showdown with Glenn and Maggie. Michonne is hiding there behind a van (with those annoying family of stick figure stickers on it). When this setup was introduced, I assumed that Michone would fall in with Glenn and Maggie, and we’d slowly get the prison moving toward Woodbury. But things got way, way crazier. Michonne manages to find the prison, wandering in with a group of zombies who don’t notice that she’s living thanks to all the gore. Rick spots her, and we face to black with them on opposite sides of the fence.

Things are coming to a head very quickly.

Grade: 4.5 zombie heads out of 5



Called it on the calls, with in my house hold.
Merle is showing his evil colors again, but some how I don’t know if I can call anything evil any more. Perhaps he is just on his own crusade which has very special lines.
I never understand why people never take the shot
AND! I didn’t realize I was watching Starwars with zombies? Every blade is apparently a light saber?


“Every blade is apparently a light saber?”

I made a similar observation on Facebook last week. I know the show is going for a comic feel, but it gets pretty crazy. Pushing a folding knife through a guy’s forehead? Come on. Especially since they eye socket was right there.


Well, as far as the zombie slicing goes, I let it pass because they are rotting, so I assume it would be a lot easier than it would be on a living human, do bones become weaker as well? dunno.

As far as the execution, I think the knife went through the temple, I don’t know if it makes a difference because I’ve never stabbed anyone in the head, hehe, but I do believe that the forehead is the strongest part of the skull. Still, it might be one of those things that seems fake but that it’s actually possible, people have been stabbed in the head before.


It seemed to me it was right through the forehead, which is ridiculous (if I misremember and it was the temple, well, that’s not so bad).

Yes, bones will get softer, but the skull is going to be around a long time after all the flesh rots away. You aren’t jabbing a pocket knife through it anytime soon.


Now, regarding the episode, overall it was great considering it was a “bridge” episode, they have been boring/uneventful in previous seasons. I also like how it isn’t affraid to move away from the story line of the comic, which in my opinion is not as good as the TV series, it removes most of the questionable events/decissiones made in the comic and gives us better twists, not to mention some great characters and the interactions between them.

The only thing that bothered me is how easy Merle got the jump on Glenn and Maggie, they both had their guns drawn, they are both experienced and hardened zombie killers, and yet, Merle manages to draw and take one of them hostage?? very hard to believe, at least for me. And Glenn was holding a Glock, so any issues with the safety being on or the hammer not being cocked are mute (I don’t believe he would go out with an unloaded gun).

I do share your concerns for Glenn and Maggie, they are great characters and I would hate to see something bad happen to them, specially Maggie. I expect the cliff hanger for episode 8 to be HUGE, which sucks :(.


Oh, and it was cool that Carol didn’t die,a lthough we still don’t know for sure that she wasn’t bit. I also thought it was weird that she didn’t scream for help, but she had been there for a couple of days, so maybe she lost her voice because she was screaming before?


She may have screamed herself hoarse, or worked herself into some weird state.


Merle getting the jump on them was a bit much, especially since they both had him in their sites. Of course, have either of them shot a living person yet? They may have hesitated.


Hey Dave, that sticker family reminded me of something. Is there a way I can post a photo pn the board? I also have a sticker family on the back of my SUV, but mine doesnt feature my family with mickey mouse ears, or engaged in some kind of pedantic activities. Mine is the cutest little family of zombies youve ever seen. My kids got it for me and demanded I stick ot on my car right away. You should SEE the looks I get dropping them off at school!


You can’t embed a photo, but if you put it on Flickr or Photobucket or something like that you can link to it. I’d definitely like to check it out.

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