The Walking Dead S3E3: Walk With Me
Original Airdate: October 28, 2012
Recap by Sarabeth Pollock
A helicopter is doing recon over the countryside. They have engine trouble and call out a Mayday, but when the world has gone to pieces, who is out there to hear you? They hit the ground, hard, and the crash sends up a plume of black smoke. On a distant road, Andrea and Michonne see the smoke. They walk in that direction, with Michonne’s pets following along obediently. Behind them, Walkers trudge along across the meadow after them.
When Andrea and Michonne finally reach the downed helicopter, it’s empty. Andrea bends over and vomits. Michonne tells her not to push herself. She’s really sick, clearly, but Andrea isn’t one to give up (even though she almost did when she told Michonne to go on without her). Michonne ties her pets to a tree and leaves Andrea with a gun while she explores the wreckage. She finds one soldier cut in half outside, but before she can search more thoroughly, cars approach from the opposite road. A group of men emerge from the cars and fan out. The man in charge warns his men not to use their ammunition on the approaching Walkers. Andrea has to fight the urge to get sick, knowing that they’ll be exposed if she makes a sound. The newcomers take out the Walkers with their own personal styles, ranging from bats to arrows to knives. Andrea and Michonne watch as they find a “breather” in the wreckage and move to help him. Michonne cautions against revealing their location until they know who these people are. At this point the soldier who was cut in half has now returned to sentience as a Walker (not literally, of course—he’s only a torso with arms and a head). The man in charge plunges his knife into the soldier’s head.
The pets become more and more agitated. Andrea is closer and closer to puking (loudly). The men take notice, so Michonne decapitates her pets to silence them. Of course, the men notice the sudden silence as much as they noticed the noise. Both groups watch each other without knowing what they’re watching. But then someone sneaks up on Michonne and Andrea. He orders them to drop their weapons and turn around. When Andrea faces the man, he recognizes her. We see a Walker approaching behind him and he takes it out efficiently with his weaponized, handless arm. The man in question is Merle Dixon, Daryl’s brother that we haven’t seen since Atlanta. “How’s about a big hug for your old pal, Merle?” he asks. Andrea faints.
When she comes around, Andrea is in a car and two men are talking to another man on a radio. They’re discussing the condition of the soldier they found (who is in bad shape), they have a woman who is drifting in and out of consciousness, and they have another woman who is fine. Andrea calls out for Michonne, who is nearby, and she opens her eyes to see Merle watching her. He shushes her and puts her blindfold back on.
A doctor is taking Andrea’s temperature. Michonne keeps watch by the bed. Andrea tells her they want to leave, but it’s dark and it’s not safe outside. But where are they? Andrea asks. The nurse isn’t allowed to say. Merle strolls in and dismisses the doctor. He tells Andrea that he was near death when they found him. A bullet would have made a nice meal so that he could wait for his brother on the other side. Speaking of brothers, Merle wants to know if they have seen Daryl lately. Not lately, Andrea admits. She tells Merle that Daryl and Rick went back for him. Merle points out that Rick’s the one who left him there. And Daryl wasn’t happy about what they did to Merle, she adds, but things happened and they had to keep moving. So many people died, too. Andrea goes down the list, sounding much like a memorial at a high school reunion. When she mentions her sister, Amy, Merle offers his condolences. She runs through the highlights of season two, and she admits that she doesn’t know what happened to the others because they were run off by a herd seven months ago. But enough of that. What does Merle want from them? Merle waxes poetic and pretends to be offended that he has given them shelter and medicine without offering so much as a thank you, but Michonne points out that he had a gun on them out in the field. Who hasn’t had a gun on them in the past year? Merle retorts. Andrea grudgingly bites out a thank you.
Merle leaves the room and confers with another man. He’s well dressed and Merle seems to respect him. At last we meet the Governor. The women want their weapons back. The Governor points out that there are no bars on the windows. They’re not prisoners but they’re under guard because they’re strangers and it isn’t known whether or not they pose a threat to his people. Once Andrea gets a good night’s rest, they’re free to pick up their weapons and leave. Hell, they can take some rations and the keys to a car if they want. They just can’t go until morning, because they gates are locked until then for safety purposes. Andrea and Michonne share a confused and skeptical glance at each other. Where are they? The Governor escorts them outside the building they are in, and the women see that they’re in a town that looks untouched by the horrors they have encountered. “Welcome to Woodbury,” the Governor says.
As they walk through town, they see men on towers protecting the perimeter. This group isn’t military, the Governor explains as Merle takes out a creeping Walker. Their people are self-trained. He explains that the Governor is a title given to him, a nickname that stuck over time. He leads them to a house and gives them access to all of the amenities. Andrea and Michonne seem shocked with their accommodations, which are nicer than anything they have seen since Andrea was on the farm. Andrea wants to know about the pilot, and he assures them that the doctor is doing what she can for him. He bids them goodnight. Is this all too good to be true?
The next day, Andrea and Michonne walk through the town. There are 73, soon to be 74, inhabitants in Woodbury. They haven’t had a breach in over a month, and there hasn’t been a casualty in town since early winter. Andrea is concerned that the men who guard the town were flaunting a dead Walker like a “Christmas ornament,” but their host explains that those men have lost many friends on the line, and everyone copes in their own way. Michonne and Andrea are still very suspicious.
Inside the Woodbury medical facility, the soldier tells the Governor and the doctor the story of how their base was infected by the virus. Ten of his men escaped. The Governor promises the soldier that he will go out and find them, and if they’re still alive, he’ll bring them in. He leaves the clinic and goes around to the back to a room that looks like a makeshift laboratory. Merle is there with another man wearing a lab coat, named Milton. The Governor is interested in the fact that Merle knows who Andrea is. Merle explains that she was part of the group in Atlanta and she had been with Daryl. The Governor tells Merle to talk to her again. Clearly he has an agenda for her. Once Merle has left, the scientist points out the ingenuity of Michonne’s pets. He has been studying its corpse and sees that if you take away its arms (so it can’t grab you) and its jaw (so it can’t bite you), the desire to feed leaves and they simply exist. They become docile. Why keep them, then? The Governor ponders. Repellant. That’s why. You can walk with Walkers and they don’t know you’re there. It’s brilliant. The Governor seems to value Milton not only for his scientific insight, but as his moral compass. And his tea. He challenges the Governor’s decision to send Merle in to talk to the women. He likens it to having a toolbox and questions whether or not sending in a hammer is the right thing to do.
Apparently the Governor takes Milton’s advice, because the next scene shows the Governor cooking a meal for the four of them. He marvels that two women can make it as far as they have on their own without encountering danger. Milton wants to know what they think of the Walkers. It turns out that he believes that they might retain some semblance of the people they once were inside. He wants to know if Michonne’s pets were people she knew. This must be a very touchy subject for her, because she glares at him and Andrea looks very uncomfortable. The Governor swiftly changes the subject. Andrea wants to know if the barriers protecting the town would hold if a herd comes through. The Governor explains that the secret to maintaining the walls lies within the town. People have normal lives there, and so they are willing to work hard to maintain the lifestyle they lead. “It’s like you’re sitting pretty at the end of the world,” Andrea observes. The Governor says that they will reap what they sow. He exchanges a meaningful glance with Andrea, who offers a toast to civilization. Their breakfast is interrupted and the Governor has to leave. Michonne wants their weapons back, but the Governor suggests that they take some time to relax before leaving again. Is this all too good to be true?
Michonne doesn’t trust the Governor. Why not, Andrea wonders. Has she ever trusted anyone in her life? Why not take this time “to get their shit together?” “My shit is together,” Michonne replies. Andrea points out that it didn’t look that way when asked about her pets. In fact, after all this time together, Andrea still doesn’t feel like she knows who Michonne is when Michonne knows everything about Andrea. Well, fear not, Andrea—this was a clever plot device so that you can go seven months without knowing someone so that we, the viewers, can learn right along with you. Andrea points out that those two Walkers were with them all winter. It must have been difficult for Michonne to take them out. “It was easier than you think,” she replies coldly. All around them, people wander around Woodbury as if they’re walking through Main Street, USA. You’d never guess they were the survivors of a zombie apocalypse. That actually makes it all the more disturbing. I’m sorry, but I’m with Team Michonne right now. There’s no such thing as a free lunch, and when things look too good to be true, they usually are.
In the next scene, we see a group of, oh, about 10 soldiers working on their tanks in a makeshift camp. A car approaches quickly from the main road, and the men go on high alert even though the driver is waving a white flag. The Governor steps out of the car and tells the men that Welles sent him. He explains that his helicopter went down and he was badly injured, but they’re caring for him at their compound down the road. The men rejoice that their man made it…but then the Governor pulls his gun and shoots the soldier. It’s an ambush. The Governor’s men were waiting in the woods. They take out the remaining soldiers, who were completely caught off guard. One of the soldiers is still alive and the Governor takes his rifle and then finishes him off by stabbing him with it, reminding his young protégé that you should never waste your ammunition. They missed one of the soldiers, who takes off running. The Governor takes him out with a shot to the back, then hands his knife to the young man and tells him to finish him off. Then he tells the rest of his men to see “what Uncle Sam brought” them.
Told you it was too good to be true. I’m not even exaggerating—my jaw dropped when they took out those soldiers, and I had already figured the Governor to be a bad guy. I just didn’t see that coming at all. (Remember, I didn’t read the comics)
The Governor and his men return to Woodbury with the spoils of war, looking triumphant. Milton looks on in disappointment. Andrea notes his expression. The Governor addresses his people and tells them that they took on 3 new members to their community, and that he promised to find the soldier’s company and bring them back alive. He lies to his people (of course) and tells them that those poor soldiers didn’t have the walls that Woodbury has and so they were defenseless, but their trucks were full of supplies that they need to survive.
Andrea walks with the Governor, who seems pleased that she’s still around. She wants to know his real name, and he says that he never tells. “Never say never,” she jokes, flirting with him. “Never,” he says, and he walks away.
Later that night, the Governor walks through his house. There’s a woman in his bed, sleeping. He walks to the mantle and looks at a picture of his family before continuing on to a dark room with odd illumination. He sits in a plush leather chair and stares across the room…at a wall full of tanks with heads inside. The heads are trophies. The last head we see belongs to the soldier they rescued.
Well, so much for hospitality. Let that be a lesson to all of you as we head into the holiday season. If you’re staying with people who seem all too hospitable (and who take your weapons away from you upon arrival), it is probably too good to be true. They might cut your head off and use it as a trophy.
How many of you were happy to spend the whole hour tonight with Andrea? I admit, I missed the Grimes gang, but fear not, they will be back next week. What did you all think of tonight’s episode? Would you rather live in Woodbury, or take your chances outside? Again, I’m Team Michonne on this one. Let me take my chances. See you all next week!