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

I worry that I'm coming off like a full on Dead-hater. Nothing could be further from the truth. This season has been a great showcase for everything the show does well. When it's good, it's thrilling. But if there is one good thing about a midseason finale -- and really, there's not, which makes it annoying that it's become such a common practice nowadays -- it's that it gives you a moment to look back over the episodes you've seen and try to understand what they mean for the episodes still to come. The closing scenes of the episode almost felt a little bit like the beginning of a mini-reboot for the show. If Season 3 Part 1 has been all about getting the chess pieces on the board, then these final scenes indicated that the game was really about to begin.

The Governor told Andrea that Michonne came back to kill him. Why? Who knows why? Andrea asked about the heads in the tanks, and the Governor came up with an explanation that made just a bit of sense. "I made myself look at them. To prepare me for the horrors outside." Fair enough: He's like the General who looks at the pictures of all his dead men, to remind him of the cost of war. (This is a lie, but it's an effective lie.) Merle came in and promised to go after the attackers in the morning. With his one remaining eye, The Governor gave Merle a withering glare. Remember: Merle claimed that Michonne was dead.

Outside of Woodbury, Michonne found Rick, who was in a bad mood. Daryl had gotten lost along the way. He took Michonne's sword from her. He asked, "Get what you came for?" Rick Grimes does not truck with personal vendettas: Membership in the Melee Squad is reserved for people who will watch each other's backs. Michonne told him that he needed her help: To get Glenn and Maggie back, or to find Daryl. "Either way, you need me," she said. And she's right. Especially with Daryl gone, Rick needs an enforcer -- and it's tough to say no to the lady with the sword.

This was just a prologue to the best scene of the episode -- a sequence which indicated that Walking Dead really does have more on its mind than relentless zombie-slaying. Proudly showing off his battle scars, looking like the modern incarnation of Odin One-Eye, The Governor told his assembled citizens that it had been a very bad night. Not just a bad night: It was the worst they had all felt since the apocalypse first happened, when "we all sat scared huddled in front of the TV." I was all set to make a comparison between the Governor's speech and the use of terrorist attacks as propaganda, when The Governor made that allegory explicit: "I'm afraid of terrorists who want what we have," he said. It was a brilliant oratorical move: By using the "T" word, the Governor immediately established the Grimes Gang as an all-encompassing enemy, impossible to reason with, impossible to do anything but kill them.

NEXT: The enemy of my enemy is my enemy

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