The Walking Dead recap: Mommie Dearest

The gang enjoys a quiet and uneventful day in their happy new prison home. Actually, no, that's not what happens at all
Ep. 04 | Aired Nov 4, 2012

MELEE SQUAD UNITE Rick, Glenn, and Daryl race to protect their wife, girlfriend, and vaguely maternal semi-crush, respectively.

Gene Page/AMC

The first scene of this season established that, during the winter, the Grimes Gang had become a tactical anti-walker squadron, moving with ace precision through nearly any environment. But when the walkers suddenly invaded the prison yard, they had no time to react. In the first few episode, they were moving through environments with clockwork efficiency. Now, they were separated, with most of their heaviest artillery a long run away. Rick and the guys ran back as quickly as possible, with Axel and Oscar along. Hershel and Beth got behind one door. Hershel even used his crutch as a weapon, which begs an important question: How long until those crutches get blade attachments? T-Dog managed to close a door against the vast horde of walkers...but in the process, he got bitten, and ran away bleeding with Carol. Lori, Maggie, and Carl ran down another way, into the dark tunnels. Right about now is when Lori doubled over, and said the absolute worst possible thing you can ever say in the middle of a zombie attack: "The baby is coming."

The Melee Squad arrived and cleared out the walkers. (Glenn earned himself a Zombie Kill of the Week award, with a positively Daryl-esque knife-swipe that chopped off a zombie's brain right above the nose.) but their problems were far from over. The escape alarm suddenly sounded, bringing every walker from the Tri-State area on a collision course with the prison. Rick tried to shoot out as many alarms as possible. He figured that one of the inmates had set off the alarm: Who else knew the layout of the prison? Oscar and Axel swore their innocence, though. They even offered to lead Rick to the shut-off point.

Meanwhile, back in Woodbury, Andrea was saying goodbye to her ol' pal Merle. She gave him a map to Hershel's Miserable Farm. Merle was feeling randy: "How come we never hooked up, Blondie?" "You called me a whore!" she said, flirtatiously. Merle noted that they got left behind by the same people -- and saved by the same guy. "You ain't curious about the old gang?" Merle asked. Andrea said no; maybe because Michonne was her new gang. Or maybe because she's like a shark: She just keeps moving forward and getting involved in really really misguided romantic situations.

Merle visited the Governor, who practicing his golf swing at the Woodbury Driving Range. He must be a scratch golfer: He nailed a walker in the head from a couple hundred feet. "We should visit Augusta," said the Governor. "Take only the women and let them play." Merle asked the Governor for leave to go on a Daryl search, but the Governor refused: Merle is too important to the Woodbury security force. When Merle persisted, his boss offered him a compromise: Find more concrete information, and the Governor would go on the search with him. (ASIDE: Quite a few people in last week's comments noted that Season 3 Merle seems considerably softened from his Season 1 heyday: Kinder, not obviously racist, with just a hint of bruised nobility to go along with Delta Force-level killing ability. My read on this is that the Walking Dead writers decided to transform Merle from a completely unhinged fictional character into a slightly hinged, barely-fictionalized version of Michael Rooker -- a transformation I fully support. END OF ASIDE.)

Andrea paid a visit to the Governor, too. He poured some of his bourbon. They talked about life. Andrea admitted, "I don't know what I'm looking for...I don't know what matters now." Andrea's ongoing existential crisis, which has been the character's main arc ever since her sister died, feels like an expression of the character's own weird place in the show. In that sense, the Governor's offer of a new purpose felt extremely meta: Stay with me, Andrea, and finally become something more than "Blonde Who Shoots Guns." He told her about his past: He lost his wife in a car accident, long before the zombies attacked. It was just him and his daughter. (The way that the Governor phrased that information was interesting: He seemed to imply that his daughter was still around, even though we haven't seen any indication of her.) The Governor said that she would always be welcome. He told her to take care. He told her his real name: Philip. His big Morrissey eyes lingered on her. Andrea was smitten. (If you're keeping track, this makes three semi-sociopathic violent men that Andrea has flirted with.) Andrea convinced Michonne to stay another day. Michonne was not amused.

NEXT: Requiem for T-Dog

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