Image credit: Gene Page
A FISTFUL OF CROSSBOW People, Daryl Motherf---ing Dixon is wearing a motherf---ing serape, a direct reference to the peculiar choice of clothing worn by Clint Eastwood's Man With No Name in A Fistful of Dollars, A Few Dollars More, and The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. There is so much badassery on display in this picture that, if you were to collect it all together in one place, it would be enough to drown a pod of blue whales. At moments like this, you can't help but wish that the show would just junk its entire cast and transform into a spaghetti-western adventure about Daryl. Picture him, the last survivor of the Grimes Gang, wandering the ruined landscape of post-zombie America, getting embroiled in local skirmishes, saving little children, romancing sassy frontier dames. Maybe Michonne could join him, and they could fight over who gets to be Xena and who gets to be Gabrielle. Maybe Michonne's last name is actually Mason, so the show could be called Mason/Dixon. Maybe the first season ends with Daryl discovering that his father is still alive, and his father is played by Powers Boothe. Dear Hollywood: Money, please!
Rick, meanwhile, decided to deal with his grief in a positive fashion, by which I mean he picked up the sharpest object he could find and set off into the caverns of the prison. He killed one, two, three, four walkers; he split the last one's brain in two, roaring like a madman. At this point, no one on the show considers the zombies to be real people anymore -- killing them is a blessing, really -- but there was something disturbing in the raw, remorseless fashion that Rick set about his bloody business. He was just letting off some steam.
The Governor is not an openly violent man, like Rick. While Rick was hacking away, the Governor was giving a speech to Woodbury about how far they've all come. (He mentioned a time when they were just nine people in a boarded-up apartment -- his own version of the Grimes Gang.) While he was speechifying, Michonne snuck into his room to get her sword. Inside, she found the Governor's journal. The early pages contained what seemed like a remarkably precise plan for Civilization: In the split-second Michonne was looking at those pages, you could see words like "judiciary," as if the Governor was looking at the zombie apocalypse as an opportunity to play real-life SimCity.
Then there was a list of names, which ended with "Penny"; after that point, the journal became a series of identical lines. The message was clear: "All work and no play make The Governor something something." At that moment, the Governor came in with the bespectacled Milton and the be-stabhanded Merle. Milton was talking about an experiment he'd been working on, and asked why "The festivities" had to be tonight.
Michonne was intrigued. She went poking around, and found six walkers caged next to what looked like an abandoned parking lot. She let the zombies out, and smiled. She sliced them and diced them and thriced them; she chopped one guy completely in half through his midsection. I think this might be the first time we've ever seen Michonne smile. Even though we know, as viewers, that Michonne is fundamentally right to be suspicious of her new home -- there is something rotten in Woodbury -- this scene made you wonder if Michonne is really serious about her plan to go and live on an island somewhere. If it's fun for us to watch people kill zombies, it follows that it's also a lot of fun to actually kill zombies. Could Michonne ever pass up a high like this?
The Governor sat her down for a meeting and chastised her. He said that she was acting out in order to get kicked out of Woodbury. She was poking the Governor specifically in order to get him to show his bad side. He wouldn't take the bait. "We've enjoyed havin' you," he said, all genial. He asked her to join the Research Team. In response, she held her katana to his throat. "She's all personality, that one," the Governor explained to Merle. Something had to be done.
So the Governor called in his crush Andrea and explained the situation. Andrea was a bit put off by the revelation that he had captive zombies. But she's fundamentally happy here in Woodbury. She found Michonne packing, and tried to talk sense into her. She even called her by a nickname, "Mish" -- I was surprised that Michonne didn't immediately cut Andrea in half for that one. Michonne stood firm: "This place is not what they say it is." As if to prove her point, we cut 0utside of town, where Merle and Milton were checking on their zombie trap. They seemed to be looking for something specific: They threw back a couple of walkers, and by "threw back" I of course mean "stumpstabbed." (Milton was wearing a jacket with sleeves that appeared to be made of duct tape; Why oh why is Halloween 51 weeks away?)
NEXT: A visit to the local preschool