The Walking Dead recap: Can't Take Chances With These Terrorists

The midseason finale sees the Grimes Gang and the Woodbury Warriors engage in all-out urban warfare. Not everyone gets out alive.
Ep. 08 | Aired Dec 2, 2012

A CRY IN THE DARK The problem with Carl is that it's very hard to tell whether his ability to unemotionally shoot people in the face counts as maturity or sociopathy, and the problem with Walking Dead is that the show might not know the difference. Still, cool gun.

Gene Page/AMC

You might have figured that The Governor was going to pull some kind of oratorical plot with Michonne. But no: He took off his gun belt, and said pleadingly, "There's no need for her to suffer." Michonne responded: "She doesn't have needs." But she didn't look at the Governor with hatred; it was more like pity. I figured that she was going to leave the man to his misery, right before she stabbed the little girl through her brain through her mouth with her katana. This was so wrong in so many ways that I have to set aside any question of moral decency and declare it the Zombie Kill of the Week, and to provide some emotional ballast, I can only note that the show missed a clear opportunity here to make a John Carpenter reference by giving the zombie daughter a cone of vanilla ice cream.

The fight that followed was vicious, all the moreso because it legitimately seemed like either character could die. Well, maybe not: The Governor is obviously the show's Big Bad now, for the season if not forever, and the show has drunk too completely from the well of fan service to kill off a character like Michonne. But it felt brutal and vivid. The Governor was strangling Michonne; then she flipped him around and strangled him with her scabbard. There was biting, and various heads rolled. The Governor seemed to finally have the upper hand...until Michonne grabbed a piece of broken glass (ouch!) and stabbed it straight into his right eye (OUCH.) She was all set to put an end to him...until Andrea appeared, pointing a gun at her. "What have you done?" she said. They held their respective weapons on each other in a Mexican standoff, and Michonne slowly walked away.

Now, listen:

1. Michonne didn't try to say anything. Anything. Admittedly, a complicated series of circumstances had led to that point. Admittedly, Michonne may have legitimately not realized that the Grimes Gang was Andrea's old crew. But Michonne didn't even try to say anything about tortured civilians, or about Merle hunting her in the forest. I guess you could argue that she was leaving Andrea to discover the zombie daughter or the heads in the jar, but this still seems like something that could have feasibly been a little bit worked out if Michonne had said anything.

2. I have never held a sword and have only fired a gun a couple of times, so maybe I'm wrong here. But if someone is holding a gun on somebody who is holding a sword, I'm pretty sure that the gun will win every time. Every time. So I guess the "Mexican Standoff" was more emotional than literal. But Michonne is a cipher, and Andrea is terrible, so I can't say there were a ton of emotions in play in that scene.

3. It seems, in hindsight, like one of the main storylines of Season 3 Part 1 was Andrea's gradual descent into the dark side -- she went from having Michonne's back to pointing a gun in her face. The problem with this, though, is that Andrea's "descent" followed the Anakin Skywalker model: She has become accidentally evil. She's on a passive journey -- she's a dupe, really. It's a shame, because I think the thing to keep in mind is that you could feasibly argue that Woodbury's mere existence justifies every bad thing the Governor does. All societies are born out of blood and violence. Imagine if Andrea knew about all the bad stuff, and still wanted to stay in Woodbury. Where would you rather live: The small-town hippie commune with UFC fights on the weekend, or the prison inhabited by mopey people who are really terrible at fence upkeep?

Speaking of that prison! Carl Grimes continued to prove that he should probably be in charge of the whole Grimes Gang. He allowed Tyreese and his crew to come to safety...but he also locked them up outside of the main cellblock. The woman with Tyreese complained, begging with him, explaining that they were good people. Tyreese, however, calmed her down: "This is the best we've had in weeks." Then Tyreese turned around to finish off the walker-bitten mom. In a great and delicate moment, they covered her face before he bashed it in: A bit of humanity that went a long way towards indicating that these new arrivals are more than just meatbags awaiting a zombie bite.

NEXT: The Governor speechifies

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