The Walking Dead recap: Torn Apart by Teeth or Bullets

Rick is haunted by yet another ghost from the past. But this ghost isn't dead yet. (OR IS IT?) (No.)
Ep. 12 | Aired Mar 3, 2013

ERRAND OF MERCY I don't usually go in for "shipping," the process of lustfully hoping that two characters on a show will hook up. But am I the only one who kinda wants to see Rick and Michonne get together? They're both clearly brutally damaged PTSD victims dealing with the zombie apocalypse in their own way -- Rick by developing a God Complex and trying to protect everyone, Michonne by shutting out everyone else and focusing on her own well-being. It would be like if a cowboy hooked up with a samurai. In other news, I'm pitching Cowboy Loves Samurai as a reality series to A&E.

Gene Page/AMC

When they got back to the car, there was a nice grace note. Carl told his dad that Michonne "might be one of us." Michonne told Rick point-blank, "I know you see things." But unlike the rest of the Grimes Gang, she doesn't see that as a weakness. "I used to talk to my dead boyfriend. It happens." (ASIDE: Seriously, what would you call Rick and Michonne if they got together? Richonne, right? END OF ASIDE.) As they drove away, they saw Morgan burning some zombie bodies, clearing out the detritus. It was a vision of an Alterna-Rick who had nothing left now except the basic urge to keep living. You could argue that Rick's own life is more optimistic: He has people who depend on him. But Rick is also facing down a war, and the possibility of losing all those people. Maybe it was a vision of Rick's future.

Now, I had a couple minor quibbles with the end of this episode. First and foremost: The Grimes Gang is currently preparing for war with a man who has, at his disposal, a few dozen soldiers and an untold amount of artillery. To my eyes, the amount of weaponry that they grabbed from Morgan's stash looked ridiculously light. Heck, I'm not sure Morgan's entire weapons stash would be enough to hold off Woodbury. Yet again, I'm struck by the fact that Rick might just not be a very smart tactician. He's good at basic short-range combat: Witness the success of the Melee Squad, which moves like one unit covering each other's back. But he should really be preparing for the Governor's arrival by rigging the Prison as one giant deathtrap. You gotta Precinct 13 your house, dude!

Along the same lines, I'm struck again by the fact that almost nobody on The Walking Dead -- besides the Governor -- seems to understand just how valuable living, breathing humans are as a natural resource. It seems to me that, if Rick were just a bit tougher and smarter, he would've bopped Morgan in the head and taken him back to the prison. Best case scenario, he gets more time to bring him back to earth and turn him into a valued Grimes Gangbanger. Worst case scenario, he turns Morgan into a willing kamikaze soldier in the war against the Governor.

But Rick runs the Grimes Gang on a very clear mission now: No New People. (He's making an exception for Michonne, but that's arguably just because she helped rescue Glenn and Maggie, and also because she's played by an actress who is a regular on the show.) That message became stark in the devastating -- and darkly funny -- closing moments of the episode. Driving down the lame lonely country road, they came across the old familiar car wreck. Further up on the road, they saw a wreck of a human being, blood splattered everywhere; a little further up from that, they saw the easily-recognizable backpack. They drove by, wordless. Then they backed up, and Carl grabbed the backpack. Humans might be untrustworthy; but every backpack might have a can of soup, or a change of clothes, or one more gun.

This was another episode that was light on zombie action and heavy on introspection, but all in all, I found this a significant improvement over last week's episode, if only because Andrea was completely absent from the proceedings. We have four episodes left to go in this season, and presumably, the show will very soon stop teasing the possibility of a war and will just get to a war. Unless -- theory alert -- these next four episodes are all about the preparation, and Season 4 is about the war? That seems to run counter to departing showrunner Glen Mazzara's promise of a "bombshell" finale. But maybe he means, like, an emotional bombshell? Or maybe he means the Grimes Gang will discover a copy of the Jean Harlow classic Bombshell in the prison's DVD library? Let's hope none of those things I just said are right.

Fellow viewers, what did you think of Dead's latest road trip? Enjoy the slow-burning survivor chemistry between Rick and Michonne? Intrigued to see what's happened to Morgan since the series finale? Or were you just waiting for them to get back to the dang Prison-Woodbury war, already?

Follow Darren on Twitter: @DarrenFranich

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