Image credit: Tina Rowden/AMC
BROTHER BOTHER They're going to kill each other eventually, right? The only question is: When? Also: What kind of blunt instruments will they use?
Glenn and Maggie couldn't quite look each other in the eye. Glenn was fuming over what happened to Maggie in the torture chamber: He was frustrated, emasculated, dangerously furious. He couldn't quite look her in the eye. Hershel gave Glenn a nice little speech: "You're like my own son," he said. Will Glenn get his bloody revenge on the Governor? Watch this space for further developments.
Meanwhile, everyone was playing the numbers game. Carol pointed out that, with the loss of Daryl and Oscar, they were down two defenders. "We're outnumbered and outgunned." So it was time for Rick to speak to Tyreese and Co. Tyreese said everything right. He wanted to contribute. "You got a problem with another group? We'll help you with that." They just wanted a place to stay. Rick's answer was simple: "No." He reminded Hershel about Tomas and Andrew, and what happened with them. (Recap: Tomas tried to kill Rick, and Rick killed him; Rick let Andrew go, and Andrew indirectly killed T-Dog and Lori.)
Hershel took Rick aside and begged him to reconsider. This was a complete reversal from the Hershel of old. "You're wrong on this. You've got to start giving people a chance." But in this case, Rick has also staged a complete reversal. He used to give everyone a chance; he gave Shane one chance and then another and then another, and he still wound up stabbing his friend to death, and then watching his son shoot his friend into double-death.
Now, listen. I think Rick is a fascinating protagonist for a TV show. He was introduced, explicitly, as a cowboy, riding his horse through the open countryside. Later, he became the protector of a group of people -- Moses leading his tribe through the desert. But he has made mistakes, quite frequently; he has lost people, and he's been forced to kill others. When he puts his faith in people, they usually betray him. His wife is dead, and also might have given birth to the bastard child of the man who tried to kill him. It's understandable that he might be coming unhinged.
But boy oh boy, I don't think it was the best move ever to show the Spooky Ghost Silhouette of Lori haunting him in the shadows. Rick saw her, and began screaming: "Why? Why? Whhhhhyyyyyyy!!!!!" This was, really, a continuation of the ghost-fantasy PTSD we saw in the midseason finale, when he spotted Shane coming at him through the smoke. But it was also a continuation of that terrible "phone call from the great beyond" plotline. Look, let's get down to brass tacks here: Lori was not a good character. The show killed her off: That was wise. The show has now brought her back in ghost form twice: That is not wise.
I know it sounds like I'm coming down hard on this episode. But Walking Dead has always been a show in transition, a story in the process of figuring out what its story is. At this midpoint of the season, there are all sorts of chesspieces scattered across the map: The Governor and Andrea, fighting a war for Woodbury's soul; Rick, coming unglued at the prison, and the vacuum of power that will need to be filled if he abdicates; the Dixon Boys, wandering dangerously close to the Red Zone. I'm excited to see where the show goes from here. Is it too much to ask, though, that wherever it goes, it leaves the Spooky Ghost of Lori in the rearview mirror?
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