Oh noes! Poor Axel. I wonder if the secondary actors know that when they finally get an episode with 2 good scenes after weeks of slightly above extra work they know the writing is on the wall? As a viewer I should have known, but it still caught me by surprise. But I’m getting ahead of myself…
We start with Rick following around his vision of Lori that jacked up everything with Tyreese at the end of last weeks episode. Not the most compelling viewing. We get a glimpse of Michonne so she hasn’t been booted from the prison, but no hint that Tyreese and co. are still around. (Michonne’s improved condition makes me think we’ve jumped ahead a few days.)
After confirming Rick is still full-loco, we drop into Woodbury for a bit. The Gov is still sweet-talking Andrea while bringing the evil behind her back. I just can’t see how he thinks this will eventually backfire. Hubris? I guess that’s the idea. But it just seems dumb. We learn that Milton is the worst liar ever, and Andrea suspicion see-saw swings back to the high position.
The Dixon brothers do a bit of wandering in the woods and as predicted last week, Daryl is quickly tiring of Merle’s ‘tude. Daryl is a changed person. It’s dramatized a bit bluntly over the course of this episode, but it’s earned and fun to watch. These two are just good even when their material doesn’t always live up to their charisma. They also get the bulk of the gruesome effects budget with the nicely staged zombie scene on the bridge. (How did this family survive this long?)
Back at the prison, Glenn and Maggie not talking about what happened graduates to half talking about it. I’m still not sure from the conversation what each of them is feeling about it. These half-chats occur a lot in The Walking Dead, and they never fail to frustrate. You make a guess at maybe what it’s about, and hope for a new scene with zombies.
Soon enough we get to the meat and potatoes of the episode–the Governor’s prison assault and it’s a doozy of a sequence, starting with Axel’s farewell mentioned before, Rick being trapped outsize the gates, Hershel stuck far from cover, and the rest of the group pinned down by gunfire. And then the Gov’s coup de gras arrives in fine form with a delivery truck that crashes through the prison gates and drops off a load of zombies. (Dang, who drew the short straw and had to drive the truck, and where exactly did he run to?) This who thing was a pile of fun with everyone in danger and getting a share of defending the homefront. I expected Tyreese to play the role of cavalry, but we got the Dixons instead. I’m a bit bothered by Tyreese vanishing without a word for the whole episode, but having Daryl and Merle back with the group so quickly isn’t undesirable. I think it’s going to be a reeeeal stretch to bend the other characters enough to let Merle back into the group after the garbage treatment Michonne and Tyreese have recieved when coming in with white flags waving and zero baggage. We’ll see how it goes I guess.
So it probably reads like a lot of complaining, but I enjoyed the episode quite a bit. Season three is good pulpy fun. It would be nice if the could step up to having great characters making rational (from their point of view) choices too but they’re delivering more than enough each week to keep me watching.