'The Walking Dead' Season 3 Episode 5: 'Say the Word' Review

By Chris Baggiano,
Rick loses it and Woodbury plays a more prominent role

Disclaimer: from here on out the recaps will be less recap and more review. I see no reason to do a near scene-by-scene retelling because if you're reading this you’ve already probably watched the episode.

Kill of the Week

There were some pretty delightful rage kills this week and while Rick’s dome splitting axe chop was as awesome as it was gruesome, this week’s award has to go to Michonne’s cross-body slice. There have been a lot of deaths in this show so far this season, but the cross-body slice is the first of its kind (from what I can recall). Plus Michonne wielding the kitana is always awesome.

Rampage much? This week’s episode of The Walking Dead, “Say the Word,” dealt with the aftermath of last week’s “Killer Within,” while finding a nice balance between the goings on about Woodbury and the prison. “Say the Word” hit season 3’s theme – the difference between life and living or surviving and lifestyle – especially hard as it really forced it both upon Andrea and Rick. It also further fleshed out the Governor’s character without giving too much away.

Rick’s rampage took center stage in the prison as the episode picked up nearly where “Killer Within” left off with Rick on his knees, nearly catatonic. It is almost too clear that Lori’s death has affected Rick, despite their fairly frosty relationship for the past ten or so episodes. And even though losing a wife, no matter how far apart you seem to be, is sure to be tough, Rick’s over the top reaction seems a little out of place. What’s more is the general lack of effort to try and hold Rick back. He has a son and a new daughter and is also the leader of the group (that, for Glenn, is apparently a family).

The only justification for Rick’s seemingly crazy reaction (now, of course, the audience doesn’t know just how many zombies had been killed last episode so the seeming danger might not be as great) would be that there is still a part of Rick that believes the baby could be Shane’s. While this probably won’t even be brought up, it would be a proper justification. Rick’s actions do open up a whole new loose cannon type path that his character never had before.

It also remains to be seen whether or not Rick has completely blown a fuse or if he’ll come back down to Earth. The scene where Rick repeatedly stabs the zombie in the gut near where Lori died suggests that it won’t be a quick fix but then again neither The Walking Dead nor Andrew Lincoln are usually capable of pulling off an inward struggle sort of plot. The baby will end up baring the brunt of Rick’s inward dilemmas as he tries to figure out whether he wants to keep this constant reminder of his wife’s death (not to mention all the attention it would attract if the group ever had to go on the run again).

Meanwhile in Woodbury, the town is having some sort of celebration (much to the scientist, Milton’s, chagrin). Much of what goes on in the town is the same as before, Michonne is very suspicious and Andrea is still crushing on the Governor. In fact, much of the Governor’s menace seems to be waning in this time of celebration. While he definitely has a screw or two loose – mainly in the form of him brushing his zombified daughter’s hair – all of his actions in this episode seem justified.

Is it weird to keep his daughter alive? Sure, but it’s also his daughter and it is clear he has troubles letting go (note all the pictures of his family in his place, and of course the zombie head aquariums). Is it foolish to use so much of the generators’ power for a celebration? Yes but keeping the morale of this new civilization is equally as important. And, of course, what about the gladiatorial arena? Andrea’s points are valid (although why she is so disturbed by it is weird considering she has been killing zombies to stay alive for quite sometime now) but it is important for morale and to allow some of the blood lust to subside. The citizens venturing out into the wild to find zombies to kill or, worse yet, attacking fellow townspeople to let off steam would be much worse than these staged gladiators. While it was a tad shocking to see this going on, it certainly doesn’t make Michonne’s doubts anymore valid (her protestations were thin at best and, hopefully, within the next episode or so the Governor will show some actual unjustified evil to cue the audience in on what exactly his end game is).

The series has always been focused on trying to find a place to build a life as opposed to trying to stay alive and “Say the Word” encapsulated that nicely. And while the conversations between Michonne and Andrea were on the very subject, what was more interesting in this episode was Rick’s beliefs and whether or not they would change. He has tried to find a place to settle his group down for so long and the prison seemed the best place so far but in some of those intense blank stares of his it seemed that he was coming to realization that settling was impossible, or at least his settling in this prison was now impossible. Hopefully future episodes will address this and it won’t just be Rick as usual without some sort of self discovery.

A few last things to mention. Norman Reedus (Daryl) is the best actor on this show, his scene placing the flower on Carol’s grave (presumed dead…) was played perfectly. And since when has he been wearing a Mexican poncho when he rides? Was the phone ringing all in Rick’s mind? Also, expect some sort of shocking reveal of what exactly Milton is researching sometime soon.

 
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