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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Walking Dead 3x10: Home



Maybe I'm just a big ol' rube, but I remain impressed with this show's ability to surprise me. The Governor's attack on the prison was, in hindsight, telegraphed loud and clear, from the moment Andrea asked where he was and received a non-answer from a twitchy Milton. And even though I sensed something fishy going on by the time Carol and Axel were getting all flirty (Axel's development in this episode smacked of the show's now-standard "he's going to die soon so we need to make the audience care" characterization), I was still relatively surprised when the governor showed up and started nonchalantly firing into the prison. Though a large part of that surprise came from the fact that it seemed too early for the Governor to be attacking.

While the attack on the prison was a welcome surprise (and it, along with the Dixon brothers bailing out another group from a zombie attack before returning to the prison, gave us a welcome dose of action after last week's more talky outing), it makes me wonder about the direction in which the show intends to go for the rest of the season. In season three, the writers have gotten much better in crafting the quieter, dialogue heavy scenes that so dominated the second season (see, for example, the excellent scene between Glen and Maggie in this episode), but this is still a show that thrives on momentum. Having the Governor attack the prison so quickly, in what was clearly more of a "let's fuck with these people" move than a concerted effort to take the prison itself, undercuts some of the momentum from the building rematch between Woodbury and the prison, and the ultimate showdown between Rick and the Governor. The last thing this show needs is to settle in to a rut, one in which the prison attacks Woodbury, so Woodbury counterattacks, so the prison counterattacks for that counterattack, ad infinitum. Let's hope the Governor's offhanded assault here isn't a prelude to that kind of wheel-spinning action.

Other Thoughts
Another pleasant surprise: I didn't expect Daryl to be gone for long, but I didn't expect him to return so quickly, either. While the scenes from the next episode suggest he hasn't entirely dropped his allegiance to his brother yet, it was nice to see that it didn't take long for him to realize he'd grown out of taking his brother's BS.

Bringing Merle back to the prison should hopefully shake things up a bit. If I were anyone in that prison, I absolutely wouldn't want him anywhere near me, yet there's no denying he's a tactical advantage on several levels.

Between last episode and this one, Michonne apparently healed up and moved out into the bus, which, given how adamant Rick was for her to leave after she was patched up, probably deserved some comment. Also gone were T-Dog 3.0 and his crew who didn't, as I assumed, just temporarily step out into the yard when Hershel suggested they leave last episode, but seem to have left the prison entirely. I was expecting them to show up, instead of or in addition to the Dixon Brothers, to pitch in during the Governor's assault, but no go.

I'm still not terribly excited about this whole "Rick going mad" plotline, in part because its not terribly exciting to watch and in part because I'm not sure what the endgame is, but I at least appreciate that he seems to realize he's going mad, and that, at the very least, the sound of gunfire is enough to temporarily shake him out of his stupor. 

That said, the scene where he's talking to Hershel about seeing Lori and he comes across like a ten year old boy who could, at any minute, start talking about what the leprechauns and fairies told him to do, was pretty great.

Special thanks to Dr. Bitz for the above joke about the leprechauns and fairies, and also for suggesting that Rick was just following Ghost Lori because she was going to lead him to the water his group needs to survive.

Smashing through the gates and dropping off a van full of zombie was a pretty neat tactic (and one consistent with that group's approach to the zombies) but at the same time, once Hershel got out of harm's way, I have a hard time viewing them as much of a threat. I mean, there were a lot, but it wasn't exactly a herd, and they're relatively self contained in an open space. As a tactic in the midst of a battle, they make a good distraction, but I'd hope that in the long run they don't turn out to be much more than a nuisance.

Andrea remains Queen Moron of Moronville. That is all.

3 comments:


  1. Maybe I'm just a big ol' rube, but I remain impressed with this show's ability to surprise me.

    

I was sort-of surprised the opposite of how you were, but you can count me among the rubes.

    Axel — if you say that's what his name is 8^) — getting it through the head, especially right there and right then, was a total shock to me; I figured that they were setting up a conflict among him, Carol, and Daryl when Daryl got back. Milton being twitchy when Andrea pressed him (barely) on the Governor's whereabouts, on the other hand, was a telegraph worthy of Western Union, although it's true that like you I didn't think we'd get to the attack before this hour was up.

    The delivery of Biters by the Bunch was completely, and brilliantly, out of left field too. Despite it being an impressive tactic, however, I likewise didn't/don't get why at the very least there's no immediate concern given that the Governor's crew seemed to pull out; Rick and Michonne (if she was still out there) can run around them easily, and frankly it looked like even Hershel could speed-limp his way clear.

    I'm with you on the pleasant surprise of Daryl turning back already — especially as prompted by [a] being reminded of, and presumably liking, how much he'd changed from his total loner only-Merle-has-my-back (no whip-scar pun intended) days when he rescued that group and [2] being proven right about the lay of the land. That shot of the sign for Yellow Jacket Creek was awesome.

    I didn't get the impression that Merle was about to follow Daryl when we left them, though, so seeing them turn up at the prison together gave me a brief "What'd I miss?" feeling. The look of what I took to be somewhat startled satisfaction on the Governor's face when the truck pulled in actually had me wondering if Merle had just decided to steal a truck and beat his brother to the prison to wreak some havoc before Daryl showed up.

    The scene between Glen and Maggie in her cell (!) was nicely acted, but I kind-of feel like we already covered that — not all the emotional repercussions of what happened, just her having to spell out what didn't happen. She reassured him that it hadn't gone that far back in Woodbury. I get that he might not have believed it — and that in a way disrespectful to Maggie, yet I think somewhat hardwired into heterosexual male DNA, Glen is taking the fact that she may have been raped as a personal affront — but there was just an air of gratuitousness to me in her spelling it all out again. Hearing about what transpired and didn't transpire, just like seeing it, shouldn't come across as titillating in any way.

    Rick's conversation with Hershel by the fence was indeed pretty great as well. I'm not sure if Rick knowing that he's crazy and basically saying that he just needs to see this through is remarkably self-aware or scary as all hell.

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  2. I don't know why, but I like Merle. I know he's pretty much an unrepentant dick at this point (and really, always), and I'm not sure if he's irredeemable or not (has he done anything truly unforgivable, like killing a good guy?), but even so, I like Michael Rooker so darn much, and he plays Merle as such a bad-ass, that I really want the guy to reform and become a valuable member of Rick's crew.

    I don't see it happening, but I can dream.

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  3. @Blam: Axel — if you say that's what his name is

    I had to look it up. :)

    I figured he deserved to be called by his name while discussing his death.

    That shot of the sign for Yellow Jacket Creek was awesome.

    It was, all the moreso for being understated. I had it in my notes to single out, then forgot.

    I didn't get the impression that Merle was about to follow Daryl when we left them, though, so seeing them turn up at the prison together gave me a brief "What'd I miss?" feeling.

    I was also surprised to see him turn up with Daryl.

    Hearing about what transpired and didn't transpire, just like seeing it, shouldn't come across as titillating in any way.

    Well said. I'd totally forgotten they'd already discussed it, albeit briefly, in Woodbury.

    @Matt: I'm not sure if he's irredeemable or not (has he done anything truly unforgivable, like killing a good guy?)

    He tried pretty hard to kill Michonne, who, even if Rick is still wary of her, we're meant to consider one of the good guys.

    Beyond that, I have a hard time forgiving him for the severe beating he gave Glen in Woodbury (and the enjoyment he took from doing so) and the role he played in the Governor's assault on Maggie.

    If Merle was to really turn a page at some point, apologize for his actions, become more tolerant, etc. I do think he could reach a point where he becomes at least grudgingly accepted by the group, but I don't see that happening.

    That said, Michael Rooker is pretty great, and as much as I don't like the character's actions, I think the idea of working him into Rick's group will make for some great TV - because he is an asshole, but he's also a ridiculously useful asshole on a number of levels.

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