Image credit: Gene Page/AMC
MELEE SQUAD UNITE Rick, Glenn, and Daryl race to protect their wife, girlfriend, and vaguely maternal semi-crush, respectively.
The episode got off to an eerie start. A mysterious person took a deer carcass apart and used it as a gory trail of breadcrumbs for local walkers; that same mysterious person broke one of the locks on the prison, potentially opening the floodgates to a zombie herd. It was an implication that there was a storm on the horizon. But inside of the prison, the Grimes Gang was focusing more on a matter of geopolitical diplomacy. Axel and Oscar, the two remaining prisoners, can't living in the Dead Zone anymore. They were happy to do whatever had to be done to become part of the Grimes Gang.
Rick locked them up and convened a quorum to decide their fate. T-Dog wanted to bring them into the fold. Daryl brought up a good point: "They're degenerates, but they ain't psychos." Daryl recognized something of himself in them. He wasn't exactly a saint in the bad old days. But that didn't mean he wanted them in the group. He recommended sending them into the wilderness, where they could fend for themselves. "Class is in session at Daryl Motherf---ing Dixon University, and we are no longer accepting applications," is basically what he said. Rick, for his part, told a story about a kid who stabbed his girlfriend, made weepy eyes in front of a jury, and then stabbed his next girlfriend. It was decided: They'd set the inmates free and let them determine their own fate. They would even give them enough food for a week, because they were in a benevolent mood. T-Dog called this what it was: Execution-by-Zombie.
Meanwhile, in Woodbury, suspicious Michonne did some investigating in the trucks that the Governor and his Special Security Team brought in last week. She noticed bullet holes and blood in one truck. The Governor apparated behind her, grinning his politician's smile. They must have encountered bandits, said the Governor. Michonne asked why the soldiers hadn't driven away from the walkers that killed them. They wouldn't leave their men behind, said the Governor. Michonne asked what happened to the body of the dead helicopter pilot. He was cremated so that his funeral wouldn't upset anyone, said the Governor. Vote Governor 2012: He's got a believable answer for everything!
Michonne was having none of it. She met with Andrea and told her it was time to go. Andrea asked what the plan was from here. The coastline, said Michonne; "Best thing to do is to find an island." This was the end goal Michonne had in mind: Grow old, live off the sea. It was, essentially, a version of the life they were already living, except without zombies. Andrea looked skeptical. (ASIDE: I'd be intrigued to hear what people who haven't read the comic book think about Michonne at this point. Unlike fellow newbie the Governor, Michonne hasn't really had any big character moments in her first four episodes. Indeed, at this point, her two main functions have been to kill awesomely and to frown frowningly. END OF ASIDE.)
Over at Grimes Memorial Prison, Lori and the gals were tending to the newly-asymmetrical Hershel. Today was the day he would try walking on crutches; the old guy couldn't stand to stare up at the bunk over his head. He wanted to go for a little stroll. He led the ladies outside into the prison yard. The whole Grimes Gang was out there at that moment. (Rick and the Melee Squad were further out, behind a fence getting supplies.) Everyone had to smile at the old guy, walking again. It felt like proof that some calamities could be overcome. Rick looked at Lori. Lori looked at Rick. Together, they had rescued this man's life. Maybe things could be different between the two of them. Maybe they could find a way to live together, growing old in Cell Block D. Maybe they could OH HOLY JUMPING JESUS ZOMBIE ALERT ZOMBIE ALERT ZOMBIE ALERT!!!!!
NEXT: Baby Grimes makes an extremely poorly-timed entrance