October 30, 2012

Episode Review: THE WALKING DEAD, "Walk with Me"

After two zombie-filled hours, The Walking Dead decided to slow things down with "Walk with Me." Now, that's not to say that nothing happened in this episode because interesting stuff did happen. It's just that the action and tension of the prison was replaced by the seemingly quieter (but still exciting) world of Woodbury.

The hour kicked off with a helicopter going down. Andrea and Michonne made their way to the wreckage to check things out, but they found that most of the crew was already dead. All of a sudden a group of survivors showed up to also investigate the crash site, so the two hid in the forest. The band of humans rescued the only living survivor and killed the freshly turned "biters." As Andrea and Michonne watched from a distance, trying to avoid capture, their two pet zombies started making a commotion so Michonne had to decapitate them. They thought they were in the clear, but one of the survivors crept up behind them and revealed himself to be Merle. An overwhelmed and still not 100% Andrea passed out.

Andrea slipped in and out of consciousness as they made their way to some mysterious location. When they finally made it to their destination, Andrea's tended to by a nurse but they're also being closely watched by guards. Merle chatted with Andrea, and the audience got a re-education on the events of last season, and he filled in the blanks about what he's been up to since the rooftop in Atlanta. Merle and Andrea's reunion was interrupted by the man in charge known as the Governor, and he introduced the women to the sanctuary known as Woodbury. After the nickel tour, Andrea and Michonne decided to accept the stranger's hospitality and stick around while they recover even though the latter was suspicious of their new surroundings and host.

While our heroines settled down in their new surroundings, the Governor interrogated the pilot who survived the helicopter crash and found out that there were other National Guard members waiting for his return. The Governor promised to bring them back, but he had ulterior motives. Instead of helping the remaining Guardsmen,  the Governor had them slaughtered them and took their supplies. When they returned to Woodbury, he made up a story about getting there too late and how the biters got to them first, but they couldn't let the supplies go to waste. If the killing and lies were not enough to convince the viewers that the Governor's a shady individual, the episode ended with him in a secret room staring at a wall made of decapitated heads floating in aquarium tanks.

So, the zombie killing was kept to a minimum during "Walk with Me," but the introduction of Woodbury and the Governor was effective enough to compensate for the lack of action. David Morrissey had an amazing coming out party as the nefarious antagonist, and I appreciated how he's created a more layered character as opposed to someone who was purely evil right off that bat. That said, it was pretty obvious that he had a dark side because Woodbury's too good to be true and only someone who's not all there can create such a facade.

Speaking of Woodbury, I'm interested to see how the show will mesh the two new locations. Since I've never read the books, I have no idea where The Walking Dead is going with these locales, but I have to assume that the Governor and Rick are headed to an inevitable showdown. Regardless, I was instantly intrigued by the newest haven because it opens up a whole new world to explore. Plus, we know how badly things can go when the story's confined to one location. I just hope the writers can strike the right balance between Woodbury and the prion until the two are thrown together.

My only real gripe with the episode had to do with Michonne. Since her introduction during the Season 2 finale, the web's been buzzing about how great she is as a character, but we know more about the Governor than we do about her. Now, I'm willing to give the show some time to develop her, but I'm getting the feeling that she's going to be relegated during this season and will not live up to the hype. Maybe I'm pushing the panic button too soon, but three episodes in and all we've seen is her look for medicine and cut off the heads of her two zombie pets. That might be enough for now, but I'm starting to get antsy when it comes to her. She has made Andrea more interesting though, so at least there's that.

Other Odds and Ends:
  • I kinda felt bad for Michonne's walkers.
  • Oddly enough, it was good to have Merle back.
  • From the looks of it, Daryl's the key to some major plot developments. I can't wait to see where they go from here.
  • Man, that final shot of the Governor was creepy!
Unlike last season, I'm OK if The Walking Dead lays off the gas and tones down the action if they're giving us solid episodes like "Walk with Me." I don't think the show needs to go back to an endless debate about survival and ethics, but it doesn't need to be a pure zombie shoot 'em up either. It's all about balance, and for now I'm happy with the medium that the show has achieved.


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