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!
Daryl and Maggie arrived back at the prison, where Carl was holding his newborn sister in a daze. Daryl held the baby up and fed her, a moment which I can only imagine caused a mass epidemic of swooning across this great nation. He asked Carl if the baby had a name yet. Carl mentioned that he had been thinking of Sophia. Or maybe Carol. Or Andrea, or Jackie, or Patricia, or even Lori -- the names of all the dead women came to Carl's lips so quickly, a catalogue of horror. In yet another impressive feat of strength, Daryl Motherf---ing Dixon actually managed to climb out of that depressive spiral by suggesting his own name: "Little Asskicker."
Inside the prison, Rick finally found his way to his wife's birthing chamber. We were all braced for a shot of Lori's dead body, with a big gaping hole where her head used to be. What we got was even worse. Rick found little bits of human chum scattered on the floor, ambient viscera that could have been skin or intestine or brain or big toe. Over in the corner, a fat and happy zombie lay against the wall, rocking what appeared to be the world's most comatose food coma.
What happened next felt like something you don't often see on television: A moment of genuine madness, at once utterly logical and completely inexplicable. Rick stuck his gun deep into the zombie's mouth, screamed, and pulled the trigger, earning this week's Zombie Kill of the Week Award partially for the sense of catharsis and partially for the unmissable erotic undertone. And then Rick started stabbing into the walker's stomach, as if he could fish Lori out. Everything about this was crazy, right down to the weird parallelism of the walker's bloated stomach and Lori's pregnant belly. (In this week's chapter of our essential Clark Collis-Robert Kirkman interview series, Kirkman outright admits that that scene doesn't have a clear message, which makes the brute force of its impact all the more intense.)
Dark times at the prison, but happy days are here again in Woodbury. Everyone gathered together for an exciting show on a set of bleachers. Andrea had no clue what she was about to watch, but she was assured by The Governor that they had the best seats in the house. The lights came up on an arena, with a gang of chained zombies on all sides. Merle and one of his head security guys ran out, preening and prancing and showing off for the crowd. "Merle! Merle! Merle!" cheered the crowd. A referee whistled, and Merle started fighting the security guys. The seemed to be following basic UFC rules, except with more zombies and more clothes. Occasionally, they loosened the chains on the walkers, just to make things interesting.
Andrea was horrified. The Governor looked genuinely surprised. "It's a way to blow off steam," he said. "It's barbaric," Andrea responded. The Governor smiled and told her a secret: "It's staged." All the walkers had their teeth removed; heck, for all we know, the two fighters have the whole fight choreographed before they even walk into the arena. So forget the UFC; the real comparison here is the old-school WWF. (ASIDE: If Michael Rooker time-traveled back to like 1987, I'm reasonably certain that he would become the greatest champion in WWF history. For all we know, he already is. Ever notice how you never see Michael Rooker in the same room as Hulk Hogan or Stone Cold Steve Austin or The Rock or Triple H? What if he is all of them? What if we're all just lesser clones of Michael Rooker: A whole species of Danny De Vitos to his Arnold Schwarzenegger? END OF ASIDE.)
NEXT: Are you not entertained?