The Walking Dead recap: Lassie Went Home

Glenn and Maggie experience some old-fashioned Woodbury hospitality, while Michonne mobilizes the Grimes Gang for a stealth mission. Plus: Milton's experiment revealed, sorta!
Ep. 07 | Aired Nov 25, 2012

THE WILD BUNCH Oscar looks a bit nervous. Maybe because he's walking to a climactic midseason-finale confrontation, and his teammates are The Cool Chick With The Katana, The Cool Dude With The Crossbow, and The Protagonist. I'm not saying that Oscar is going to die, but I am saying that you never want to be the guy wearing a red shirt on an away mission with Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. In this metaphor, Rick is Kirk, Michonne is Spock, Daryl is McCoy, and Woodbury is The Klingon Empire. Or maybe Woodbury is the Romulans and the zombies are Klingons? The point is: Pause to imagine Leonard Nimoy holding a katana sword.

Gene Page/AMC

Mr. Coleman died. Then he woke up. Milton tried to perform the rigid methodology of the experiment again. Same song; same brass thingamajig; same questions. He thought he spotted Mr. Coleman's fingers rise a little bit when he asked about his children. Against Andrea's advice, he removed the restraints on Mr. Coleman's right hand. The undead man immediately lunged at him. Fortunately, Andrea was there, stabbing the former Mr. Coleman through the brain in one solid motion. Milton took a deep breath and said that he had to file his findings. I'm not sure entirely what to make of this whole sequence. Ever since the misadventure at the CDC, Walking Dead has mostly avoided digging too much into the science of zombiedom. Indeed, the whole idea of delving into the cerebral effects of becoming a walker seems at odds with the show's post-Darabont meat-and-potatoes action sensibility.

And this whole experiment seemed like a failure: Zombies aren't humans, Film at 11! It's enough to make you wonder: Is Milton's experiment really based on "trace memories"? Or is it something more insidious? Are they building a zombie army? Or a zombie workforce? Or maybe Andrea is the real experiment? I DEMAND THEORIES, PEOPLE.

The Governor trotted the topless Maggie into Glenn's cell and laid it out simply. "One of you is gonna give up your camp." He held a gun on Maggie's face for a second. Then he pointed it at Glenn. Maggie said just one word: "Prison." The Governor and his gang knew what she was talking about, but they were incredulous: That place was overrun by walkers. Maggie said they had ten people when they cleared it, although they had less now. "Ten people cleared that whole prison of biters?" the Governor asked. He looked overjoyed at the news. He held Maggie close, and told her everything was okay, laying predatory hands on her; then he gave her to Glenn, and walked out with a smile on his face.

Outside, the Governor discussed this news with Merle. The prison was "deep in the Red Zone," apparently. The Governor sounded astounded. These people had done something that Merle claimed was impossible. I wonder if this will shift the Governor's worldview a little bit. From what we know about him, he's always been very Woodbury-focused: All of the decisions he's made this season have focused on preserving the status quo. Having seen what ten well-motivated people can do to a prison full of walkers, though, will he find himself in an expansive mood, and start turning the remains of post-zombie America into his very own Risk worldmap?

The Governor sent a few men to scout out the prison. Meanwhile, the Melee Squad arrived outside Woodbury, sneaking in under cover of night. Meanwhile, Andrea walked to the Governor's place, and poured herself a stout whiskey. "It's over now," said the Governor. "It's all right." But the look on his face didn't match his words. It's not all right, and it's just beginning.

Despite the torture scenes and the Crazy Old Hermit, this was a quieter episode than most, and it set us up for a potentially huge showdown in the midseason finale. Fellow viewers, what did you think of the episode? Intrigued by Milton's experiments, or bored by it? Wondering how long it will take Andrea to notice the crazy look the Governor gets on his face when he thinks no one is looking? Also, there's a midseason finale next week: Let's take bets on who is going to die! My money's on Oscar or Axel, two undeveloped characters who are both in precarious circumstances: Oscar is going into Woodbury with three fan-favorite characters, while Axel is trapped back at a prison that's about to be visited by the Governor's men, with Carl as the only security force. Then again, maybe Andrea is going to bite the bullet? That would add a bit of retroactive tragedy to her story arc this season: Finally finding happiness, and then losing everything in the process. More importantly: Will the Dixon brothers finally reunite?

Follow Darren on Twitter: @DarrenFranich

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