The Walking Dead S3E5: Say the Word
Original Airdate: November 11, 2012
Recap by Sarabeth Pollock
OK, so before we start this week’s recap, I have to repent a little bit. Last week I wrote that the inmate that Oscar killed was an unknown person. As it turns out, this was not the case. The man who opened the gates, thus leading to last week’s slaughter, was none other than Andrew, the inmate who had been locked in the cafeteria with Axl and Oscar. And of course we don’t really know whether or not Carol is dead. It just looks that way. So we can consider her dead until she shows up later, or we can consider her alive until she comes back dead, or a walker. Your choice. Either way, please forgive my transgressions.
Down to business. As the fall turns to winter in most parts of the United States these days, the good people of Woodbury are enjoying a festival in the sunny haven they call home. Milton brings Andrea an ice cold drink, grumbling about the wasteful use of the generators to make the ice. Andrea, still wearing her rose-colored glasses, tells him that it’s great that the Governor has done this for the enjoyment of the people. But more importantly, she wants to know more about the event that’s scheduled to take place that evening. Milton looks pained momentarily. “Mere words cannot adequately describe the festivities ahead,” he tells her. And while Andrea doesn’t ponder just how dark his words are, Michonne looks on at the scene before her. For her, the writing is on the wall.
The Governor sits in his room, listening to peaceful classical music while brushing the hair of the girl who sits at his feet. The moment is interrupted when the brush tears out a bit of her flesh, sending her into hysterics. Those strange noises we heard were the sounds of the Walker sitting at his feet. She struggles against him, and he gets her into a straightjacket and puts a hood over her head, reassuring her that “Daddy’s here,” and he loves her. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Penny, the Governor’s daughter. As he holds her, he sees Michonne standing outside watching him.
Back at the prison, Rick is catatonic. Daryl tries to snap him out of it, but he’s too far gone. Maggie hands the baby girl to Carl, who takes her over to Hershel. He pronounces her healthy, but hungry. Daryl takes over; obviously they need food for her. When Hershel says that she won’t make it without food, Daryl shakes his head. No way. “Not her,” he says. He’s going to make a run into town to see what they can find. Maggie and Glenn offer to go with him. Before he leaves, he tells Beth to watch out for Carl, who just lost his mom and whose dad seems to be gone as well. He gathers Oscar and Axl to help patrol the fence in case Walkers pile up. As the group heads out, Rick picks up an axe and runs back into cell block C.
As it turns out, Maggie has been scouting the stores they passed through on the way to the prison, looking for baby food. The car can’t pass through the debris, so Maggie volunteers to go with him on his bike. Glenn is hesitant to let her go after everything she’s been through, but he reluctantly allows her to go. (Aside: Knowing that Lori was due to give birth, don’t you think someone would have picked up one can of formula along the way? You know, just in case?) They ride out of the prison on the bike, and Oscar quickly shuts the gates.
Inside, Rick tears through the remaining Walkers with vengeance. Has he completely snapped or is he just blowing off steam?
The Governor stands on the steps of the makeshift Woodbury Town Hall to address the residents. This all started with nine people and some cans of Spam. Now they have a thriving community that is safe and secure. This day is about celebrating their progress and reflecting on those they have lost along the way. “To us!” he cries. (Happy Veteran’s Day to all of you veterans out there, by the way. Your hard work and great sacrifices have allowed us to live in this great country and enjoy the freedoms that we possess).
Michonne is on a mission. While the crowd is gathered in the square, she goes into the Governor’s rooms and retrieves her swords. She comes across a notebook on the desk with some notations scribbled on the first few pages, followed by a list of names. At the end is the name Penny, which has been underlined. From there, there are pages upon pages filled with tally marks. But what do they all mean? There’s a locked door across the room, but before she can get inside, she hears people coming and hides. It’s the Governor, Merle and Milton. Milton tells the Governor that he feels that the use of the generators is frivolous. He has been running an experiment and needs the extra power. He needs ten days. The Governor laughs and tells him to enjoy the celebration tonight and start over in the morning. After they leave, Michonne sneaks out the window, leading into a previously unseen part of town. It’s a warehouse courtyard filled with cages full of Walkers. She lets them out and takes them down with her patented efficiency. But clearly she’s puzzled as to why anyone would keep Walkers in cages. Her answer comes as someone approaches her from behind with a bucket full of bloody body parts, presumably to feed them.
Now caught, Michonne sits in the Governor’s room, fuming. He enters, carrying her swords. Does she get off on that? There’s nothing to hide in Woodbury, he says, but she points out that people who feel that way don’t normally need to say it out loud. Of course they all have their secrets, he says. “Like Penny?” she asks. His face registers several emotions. He asks if she knew about her, and wonders if she knows that he loved her. Michonne misreads the situation and believes that Penny was a lover. He relaxes slightly when he sees that his secret is still safe. As it turns out, he says, he was just about to give her sword back. But now she presents a problem for him. They have only been hospitable toward her but she keeps trying to leave. Normally, there would need to be consequences for her actions given the nature of her crime (i.e. breaking and entering, theft, etc.), but the Governor is willing to look past it if she doesn’t tell anyone about it. Michonne isn’t being fooled by his act. She spins in his seat and takes her sword back, pressing the tip into his neck. They exchange heated looks for a few tense moments before she backs away and leaves. Merle, who had been stationed outside, comes in and wants to know if they have a problem. The Governor asks for Andrea. Then he sits down and ponders the situation. He looks more shaken than we’ve seen him before.
Glenn is digging a grave when Oscar and Axl approach him. The perimeter is safe. Now they’d like to know if he needs help. When Glenn doesn’t reply, Axl offers that he’s sorry for his loss. Oscar tells him that he had one friend like that his whole life, and Glenn has a group of people like that. They were family, Glenn replies. He sees Hershel approach and tells the former inmates that he needs two more graves. Axl and Oscar get to work. It’s interesting to note that they are willing to do pretty much anything, including killing their own, to fit into the Grimes Gang. Now they’re digging two more graves, when there is only one body. That says something.
Hershel tells Glenn that Rick is still inside. Glenn can’t believe they lost a third of their group in one day. “Because of one asshole,” Hershel points out. He says that Oscar and Axl seem like good guys. Glenn reflects on the man that T-Dog was, when he went to gather up people from his church in a van in case they couldn’t get out. Glenn admits that he wishes they’d killed all of the inmates when they had the chance, and that way this wouldn’t have happened. He’d gladly trade any of the inmates’ lives for a member of their group, but Hershel reminds him that those inmates were the ones who helped close the gate, and Maggie could have died if that hadn’t happened. This gives Glenn a lot to think about. In the distance, Axl and Oscar continue their work.
Andrea rushes into the Governor’s home. He tells her that he has a problem with Michonne. At first, when he talks about how she took the swords, Andrea points out that you can’t steal something that belongs to you. He tells her that she went into a private place and slaughtered some Biters. Andrea wisely asks why he would keep Biters around, but he evades her question and says that Michonne is making people uncomfortable. He doesn’t want her to leave because it’s too dangerous, but this behavior can’t continue. “We’re not barbarians,” he finally says. Oh, really?
Michonne is contemplating her departure when Andrea comes into her room. She tells her that she can’t do things like she has been doing. Michonne replies that it’s dangerous there and they can’t stay. There is no leaving Woodbury, she says. No one leaves. Of course, Andrea doesn’t believe her, and since Michonne isn’t able to really point to any evidence, she wants to stay. Woodbury is a great place and they need to stick around. Michonne tried it out but can’t stay anymore, despite Andrea’s argument that she hasn’t given it a fair chance and “breaking and entering” isn’t exactly the way to express gratitude for a place where the people are only trying to help. “This place is not what they say it is,” Michonne says.
Glenn searches for Rick in the corridor. The halls are lined with freshly killed Walkers. He finds Rick standing against a bloody wall. Glenn tries to talk sense into him, telling him that he doesn’t have to clear the place out by himself, but as soon as Glenn touches him, Rick shoves Glenn up against the wall and stares him down before walking away. Looks like Rick is still out to lunch at this point.
Merle and his “research team” take an army vehicle out to what looks to be a weather and communication tower. There’s also a giant pit nearby, and they use the winch on the truck to pull up a net full of Biters. Milton looks completely out of his element as Merle circles the net and critiques their catch. He tells Milton to get his hands dirty, but when they lower the net, one of the Biters tries to grab Milton, who is wearing a shirt that has duct-tape-covered sleeves for added protection. Merle pulls the Biter off and continues his taunts. He stabs one blonde Biter through the eye while he holds another one down and pulls out one of its teeth. So now we know that they Governor not only keeps Biters locked up back at Woodbury, but he evidently has a system for capturing and selecting which ones go back to the holding cells.
Daryl and Maggie arrive at a daycare center in what looks to be the middle of the woods. He parks his bike outside the gate and they creep onto the property. It seems to be deserted, but we all know you can never be too careful, so they scout around and go inside. Maggie goes in first, ending up in a nursery room filled with cribs. The only thing that looks out of place is the trash on the floor. She finds diapers in a cupboard and starts loading up her backpack. Daryl seems affected by the children’s’ handprints on the wall. He shakes it off and continues to search the place. They go into the kitchen, where they find an opossum. Daryl shoots it and calls it dinner, but Maggie says it’s not going on the bike. She grabs the containers of formula and starts filling her bag.
Back at Woodbury, the townspeople continue their celebrations while Merle stands guard at the front gate. He sees Michonne and Andrea approaching the gate. They want to leave, but he points out that it’s almost curfew and they’d need an escort. Andrea says that the Governor said that they were free to go, but Merle tells her that she needs to step back while he discusses something with the guard on duty. Michonne points out that there’s always a reason for them not to leave yet. Finally, Merle agrees to let them go. Michonne tries to get Andrea to leave with her, telling her that this is all an act and they set this whole thing up to make it look like they are letting them go. Andrea can’t take eight more months of being outside of the gates. This place is a good place to be. She begs Michonne not to give her an ultimatum. Michonne turns and walks out the gates, telling Andrea that she’s just “slow her down” anyway.
Andrea is alone on a park bench when the Governor comes to cheer her up. He’s sorry things didn’t work out with Michonne. He says it’s weird to lose someone “by their own choice,” saying he thought those days were gone. He’s probably referring to the early days of the zombie apocalypse when people left safe places because they didn’t know any better. Now they have idyllic Woodbury, and it seems bizarre that anyone would want to leave. He offers his company to Andrea, along with a good strong drink.
Glenn is keeping watch outside the prison when Daryl and Maggie come barreling down the road. Axl creates a distraction while Oscar opens the gates. Inside the secure cell block, Carl cuddles his fussy baby sister. Maggie and Daryl come in and Daryl quickly takes the baby, holding her in one arm while he feeds her. He coos at her and she finally quiets down and drinks her bottle. He asks Carl if she has a name yet, and poor Carl goes down the list of the women they have lost, starting with Sophia and ending with Lori. Daryl asks her if she likes that, calling her a “little ass kicker.” The group, sans Rick, laughs at the tender moment. Yes, this baby is probably the safest child in the world at this point.
Rick continues his Walker slaughter through the prison until he comes across the place where Lori died. He even finds the bullet casing that came from Carl’s gun when he shot his mother to keep her from becoming a Walker. There’s a trail of blood leading to a Walker who is sitting against the wall, panting. Rick sticks the gun in its mouth and shoots it…but then he sees the hairs coming from its mouth. His gaze goes down to the Walker’s engorged stomach, and he realizes that this fucker ate Lori! In a rage, he stabs it over and over in the stomach.
The people of Woodbury gather in that warehouse area that Michonne came upon earlier in the day. Now there are seats set up, and music is blaring from the speakers. Six Biters are chained up in the makeshift ring, and a man runs into the ring, shadowboxing with the Biters. Merle joins him, and then we realize that this isn’t a fight with the Biters. This is a fight between Merle and this other man, and the Biters are there as an extra element of suspense. It’s a postmodern day Bread and Circuses, courtesy of the Governor. As they fight, the chains are let out so that the circle gets smaller. Andrea demands to know what is going on. The Governor says this is a “way to let off steam.” Andrea counters that you can do that by jogging. This is “barbaric,” she says, throwing his own word at him. He lets her in on a secret: the Biters’ teeth have been removed, and this is a way to teach the people of Woodbury that they don’t need to be afraid of the Biters. Do you believe him? I certainly don’t. At any rate, Merle wins the battle after knocking the other guy out.
Back at the prison, Daryl places a flower on Carol’s grave. It’s the same flower he gave her when he was on Sophia’s trail back at the farm.
Rick is sitting in the room where Lori died. The Walker is still there, dead and bloodied. He hears a baby crying…and the sound morphs into the sound of a phone ringing. He walks over to an old rotary-dial phone and answers it.
Who is on the line? The show ends and we’re left hanging. It’s hard to believe how much we have gone through tonight. Rick is on a rampage. Axl and Oscar seem to be on their way to being accepted as part of the group. Michonne and Andrea part ways. There’s a zombie fight club going on in Woodbury (thanks to Chris Hardwick for coining that term). Daryl seems to be a great baby whisperer (how cute was that!?). And the Governor has a Walker daughter named Penny.
So much going on tonight…leave your thoughts below and let me know what you think is coming next week. As always, thanks for reading!