The Walking Dead recap: Barbarians at the Gate

Nothing happens. And then, suddenly, a lot of things happen.
Ep. 10 | Aired Feb 17, 2013

DUCK, YOU SUCKER! I have met Andrew Lincoln. He has piercing blue eyes, perfect Don Johnson scruff, and an impossibly charming schoolboy-British accent that reminds you that his given surname is "Clutterbuck." (He introduces himself as "Andy.") I don't say this to brag, but to illustrate a point: It takes a lot of work to transform that guy into a scraggly, half-crazy, PTSD-ing apocalypse-surviving widower with a thousand-yard stare, and even more work to make you believe that that guy could bludgeon a couple zombie skulls with the blunt end of a Magnum Revolver. So here's to you, Andrew Lincoln, for turning Rick Grimes into the Great American Hobo Superhero.


Now, there were signs that this was all pure hokum, not least the Governor's suggestion that Andrea is fit to be in charge of anything more complicated than a Duck-Duck-Goose competition. But the Governor made his argument with a sly wit. "Who's going to lead them? Milton? Martinez?" ("Martinez?" we all said. "That guy can't do anything right! Wait, who's Martinez?") He finished his argument with a passionate plea: "These people need you. I...we need you." And then he left, probably to pick some flowers or hug some puppies. Actually, he walked over to Milton and asked him to keep tabs on Andrea, right before he disappeared. With Martinez. Milton claimed the Governor was on "a run." "That's great!" said Andrea. "A nice jog should clear his head."

Back at prison, there was a power vacuum. Rick was crazy; Daryl was gone. So Glenn decided to step up and play Al Haig. To his credit, Glenn is the first person in the Grimes Gang who actually seems to care that the freaking back door is open. He tried to track back where Tyreese and his crew entered the prison. He made plans to launch an attack on the Governor: A stealth mission, with Michonne as his spotter-assassin. Hershel tried to talk him into a different plan: Flee in terror. "We lived on the road all winter," he said. But Glenn pointed out that that was before everything: Before the baby, before Hershel lost his leg, before they remembered what it was like to have a roof over their heads. "We're making a stand here," said Glenn.

Meanwhile, Daryl Motherf---ing Dixon and his elder brother Merle Rooker Dixon were walking through the forest. Actually, they were humming a little song they made up, to the tune of that song from Robin Hood:

Daryl D. and Merle D. walkin' through the forest
Laughin' back and forth at what the other'ne has to say
Crossbow-fillin', walker-bashin', tryin' to find a bite to eat,
Oo-de-lally, Oo-de-lally, Golly what a Day!

Actually, things were rather tense in the reunited Dixon tribe. Game was scarce. There was some debate about the difference between "North" and "West." Daryl suggested a return to the Lori Grimes Memorial Prison: "They got shelter, food, a pot to piss in." To Merle, using a pot for that business constitutes unbearable luxury. Anyhow, Merle pointed out that the Governor had probably already eliminated the Grimes Gang.

Well, not quite -- but things weren't looking good back at the prison. Glenn and Carl emerged from the tombs covered in blood and viscera -- the zombies were fighting their way in, in great numbers. It might be a full-fledged herd, or herds -- and with the fence wide open, their safe haven was looking more and more like a death trap. Glenn decided to take action. He wanted to drive around to the rear of the prison and investigate the opening. And he wanted to take Maggie. But to do that, they actually had to talk.

The Maggie-Glenn relationship is one of the bright spots in The Walking Dead. Their relationship doesn't feel forced. They're a classic foxhole couple; they both know that, in a world without zombies, they would've never even been in the same room together. But that weirdly makes them even more devoted to each other. So seeing them actually try to talk about the elephant in the room was intriguing. Glenn asked her about What Happened With the Governor. She was blunt: "Want me to tell you how he slammed my head down and bent me over the table?" Glenn was almost speechless: "Did he...?" "Rape me?" she concluded for him. "No. Do you feel better?" It was that last part that really brought the sting home. Because for Glenn, it probably did make it better -- as if what the Governor actually did to Maggie was any less bad just because of what he didn't do.

NEXT: Hi, Axel!

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