The Walking Dead recap: Bloodsport 2: The Bloodening

The residents of Woodbury reveal their curious source of entertainment, while Rick goes on a grief-stricken rampage
Ep. 05 | Aired Nov 11, 2012

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!

Gene Page

This episode focused so heavily on the Woodbury community that the few scenes we got with the Grimes Gang felt almost out of place, like brief snippets from a very different show. Glenn started digging three graves, offered a nice memory of T-Dog which doubled as the first thing we have ever learned about T-Dog's life, and told Hershel that he wished they'd just killed all the prisoners. (ASIDE: Another interesting aspect of the Rick/Governor duality is how different their philosophy is with regards to newcomers. Since Rick is nominally the hero and the Governor nominally the villain, you'd expect Rick to be a humanist welcoming new people while the Governor would turn them away. But that's not really true. The Governor welcomes new people, unless -- like the soldiers or Michonne -- they seem like they could overpower him. Rick just doesn't welcome anybody. END OF ASIDE.) Meanwhile, Daryl and Maggie visited a preschool to find some baby formula, which led to an eerie shot of a wall of hands with names of children on them. Also, Daryl shot a possum -- at least I think it was a possum? -- leading to yet another opportunity to award him the Adorable Woodland Animal Kill of the Week. Watch your back, squirrels!

Michonne and Andrea marched right up to the walls of Woodbury. Merle fretted that they couldn't leave; they would need an escort; it was almost escort. Michonne took this as proof of her conspiracy theory: "See? There's always a reason why we can't leave yet." Surprise! Merle opened the door and showed them the way out, mentioning that they might want to consider finding shelter from the entire zombie-infested planet. The cards all went on the table now. Andrea told Michonne that they had barely survived for eight months on the move: "I don't have another 8 months in me." Michonne didn't even blink: "You'd just slow me down, anyways." And with that, Michonne set off back into the big bad world, looking for all the world like the last samurai left on an empty battlefield.

Here's the interesting thing: I don't think it's really possible to say whether Michonne or Andrea was right in that moment. Us viewers know that Woodbury is a society built on the back of horrific violence: We saw the Governor and his security squad gun down a whole crew of innocent soldiers just a few episodes ago. But it's not like Michonne is a pacifist fleeing a totalitarian state. She's a warrior -- not to say murderer, because we've all agreed that zombies aren't people -- who is fleeing a warrior nation that she doesn't quite agree with. Even if you suppose that there are worse things going on in Woodbury than we've seen so far, the show seems to be arguing that this is the best possible civilization Michonne could possibly find.

So Woodbury is a society built on violence: You could say the same about every society that has ever existed long enough to defend itself. I guess you could argue that Michonne is a good person because she doesn't kill human beings. But you could also point out that Michonne could have never built a Woodbury because she is such an individualist; heck, she can't even maintain a single friendship, much less a community. It almost seems like Michonne wanted to show everyone in Woodbury that they're all evil; but if everyone is evil, what does it really mean to be good? (Further reading for your next plane flight: "Young Goodman Brown" by Nathaniel Hawthorne.)

NEXT: Happy Birthday, Little Asskicker

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