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“When the Dead Come Walking” was, plain and simple, a disappointing episode – the first of this season for the show. The relative boringness of the episode can be explained easily enough as this episode before the midseason finale, however the main disappointment comes from the logical inconsistencies of the characters and the forced plot points. For the first time this season it seemed the characters took a step backward, hopefully for a leap forward when the prison and Woodbury finally come together next week.
As mentioned before, it is a shame that the writers of the show have yet to really show the seedier side of the Governor. Seeing as how he is a new character, and a character they are trying to make well rounded as opposed to Michonne’s, it would be nice to get to see some plans from someone who already knows them. There have been constant hints, especially when Michonne was in Woodbury, that the Governor and the town itself were not all they were cracked up to be and the fact the show continues to hint without giving any sort of hard proof is continually disappointing and hinders the viewer from any dramatic irony or impending doom. Even when the Governor has acted harshly, the only other time besides this episode would be when he and his people went to go kill the abandoned soldiers in the first episode, it can be explained.
It is clear the Governor’s main objective is to keep the people of Woodbury safe but what is unclear is to what measure he will go to do that. It is easy to kill a bunch of hardened soldiers who he doesn’t know because they need the supplies and who is to say these men wouldn’t be more trouble than they were worth if they were unhappy with how Woodbury was run. Likewise when he sends Merle to find and, presumably, kill Michonne in last week’s episode that can be justified as well as he doesn’t want her leading more zombies or people back to Woodbury. Sure, it is on the iron fist side of the governing spectrum but since it can be explained rationally it doesn’t seem anywhere close to an atrocity. Making his forcing Maggie to strip in front of him and pretend he desires to rape her confusing and unbelievable.
Even though the threat did seem somewhat credible it never really felt like it was going to happen. When the governor acts on a personal level (i.e. not letting his soldiers do the dirty work) he doesn’t actually seem capable of doing something as vile as raping Maggie, or even harming her. Had he actually raped Maggie the promise of his seedy and evil side would have been realized but since he didn’t his character remains about the same as it always has been. And if his character doesn’t really have the capacity to be as bad as Michonne’s gut feelings continually hinted then the fact the writers dangled this false character trait in front of the audience would be a very cheap trick indeed.
Luckily Merle’s character continually reaches expectations, especially when he reveals his reason for putting a zombie in with Glenn while he is tied up was because Glenn pissed him off. It was surprising to see Glenn able to take such punishment from Merle as he was being interrogated but it does show how much the character has grown from season one, which is always a nice reward for a loyal viewer. By not allowing the Governor’s threat to shoot Glenn build some tension, Maggie immediately blurting out the whereabouts of the settlement seemed too quick. Yes, she had been psychologically tortured by the Governor by his earlier bluff but the fact he didn’t go through with the rape would seem to suggest he might not be able to go through with killing Glenn either.
Meanwhile almost nothing in the prison made sense. After Rick saved Michonne and some unneeded standoffishness, Michonne reveals where Glenn and Maggie were taken, without mentioning who took them. Immediately Rick springs into action and trusts Michonne completely once she says all this despite both being distrustful of each other so much so that Michonne was wanting her sword and Daryl had to put the crossbow to her head. What was more troublesome, however, were Rick’s leadership decisions as he takes every able-bodied male and gimpy Michonne to go save Glenn and Maggie. This doesn’t seem to make much sense for a multitude of reasons. Perhaps the prison being overrun with zombies isn’t an issue anymore but what happens if more travelers stumble upon the prison? And wouldn’t infiltrating Woodbury be easier with fewer people? This decision doesn’t really make much sense from Rick’s perspective and is clearly just a ploy for the writers to allow the Woodbury scout team, which the Governor is sending out at the end of the episode, to easily take the fairly feeble remnants of the group This plot point is clearly placed by the writers in order to ratchet up the tension in subsequent episodes as opposed to having organically arisen.
Last and least was Andrea’s continual lack of story. Apparently the Governor sees fit to have her do his dirty deeds when he is unavailable, as she has to sit with Milton as he does his experiment. Again, this would have been a perfect time to reveal something shady about the Governor but instead it is a harmless test by Milton to see if a zombie has any cognitive memory capabilities (surprise, they don’t). Her presence there was forced, at best, and Milton learns a valuable lesson about being too calm around zombies but other than that this subplot was complete filler and the Governor has to accept the fact his daughter is no longer his daughter.
Kill of the Week
Rick and company killing the hermit and then feeding him to the zombies as a diversion for their escape. Ingenious and gruesome at the same time.