This week's The Walking Dead recap has sex, guts, and creepy phone calls in it! [SPOILERS]

Man, do I love this season of The Walking Dead. Stuff happens in every episode! And this week's episode, "Hounded," brought us closer to the reunion of Merle and the survivors who ditched him -- plus his brother, Daryl, who shares some personal stuff with an incredibly jaded Carl. But wow, what a cornucopia of events and things! Between Rick's deteriorating mental state, Andrea's horrible taste in men, and Michonne's crafting skills, it's looking like our mid-season finale on December 2 will be one for the ages. As far as mid-season finales go, anyway.

As usual, after the jump will be a plethora of plot spoilers.

Where do we even start? Last week, we were left with a grieving Rick, answering a phone that was suddenly ringing out of nowhere. Who was on the line? We don't know yet. Instead, we have Merle and a couple of redshirts finding Michonne's "biter-gram" with the message "Go back." I'm not gonna lie, it was a pretty clever use of zombie torsos! Pinterest-worthy! After coming out of hiding, Michonne swiftly kills all the disposable Woodburians except for Merle and a fellow named Neil. Don't worry about remembering Neil. He won't be around much longer.

Back to the phone call. It's a woman from a "safe," undisclosed location, perhaps the bunker Dick Cheney built himself in anticipation of the zombie apocalypse. Rick begs her to take him and his people in, but she hangs up. Probably because a desperate stranger in a prison wanted to come crash at her place.

In Woodbury, where we last saw Andrea acting deeply offended by the zombie fight, she is now volunteering to kill zombies. What self-respecting woman in this day and age sits around making sandwiches and watching zombies when she could be stabbing them herself? The Governor eventually lets her take a position at the wall, where a girl who completely sucks at archery delicately flings arrows at a zombie until Andrea takes initiative, jumps off the wall, and plants a knife in its head, proclaiming, "That is how it's done." So, shitty archery girl is all, "I'm telling!" and gets Andrea back in the Governor's office where he will tell her she's been a very bad girl, indeed.

Meanwhile, Rick is agonizing over this contact he's made and the phone rings again. It's a man this time, who asks Rick if he's killed anyone (yes), how many (four), and what happened to his wife. When he won't talk, the stranger hangs up. This sucks for Rick, because while we know he's in a pretty raw place right now, what reason would this stranger have to trust him given the information Rick just provided? Hershel later comes by, adorably describing his phantom limb to Rick in an attempt to lighten the mood. Rick remembers that he also is responsible for severing Hershel's leg, and realizes that yeah, that guy on the phone has every right to think he's untrustworthy.

Back in the woods, Michonne, Merle, and Neil are all attacked by walkers. One of those walkers is in desperate need of sharing his feelings with an understanding Michonne and spills his guts to her. I'm sorry. That's wrong. Michonne slices that zombie, and his guts spill all over her. In all the excitement, Michonne escapes. Neil decides that he's finally ready for a chase, having finally grown a spine, but Merle tells him Michonne isn't worth it. And then he shoots Neil in the head.

Michonne sees another group of walkers -- who totally ignore her! She soon realizes that the guts that are disgustingly all over her are like having invincibility in Super Mario Bros.! Rad! I can't wait until she finds Rick and Glen so they can share their mutual gut-invincibility stories! ("And I was like, 'You've got red on you,' and Rick was like, 'Word up, I've also got no zombies on me!' And then we laughed and laughed!") She gets that opportunity soon, when she comes across Glen and Maggie making a grocery run!

Andrea, still trying to put out the vibe with the Gov, admits that she liked the fights, and he knew it because as hard as she clutched her pearls, she stayed. They discuss how people have to stop getting all worked up about zombies and just treat them like vermin, and then they make out, and then they go bone each other. My, how pillow talk has changed in these trying times.

While Michonne watches Glen and Maggie to try to get a read on them, Merle shows up and ruins everything for everyone. Glen takes control at first... and then Merle, who is clearly physically stronger even with one arm (but also a lot crazier), overpowers them and forces Glen to drive them all back to Woodbury.

Speaking of the Dixons, Daryl also had really notable scenes in this episode. He, Oscar, and Carl are scouting for zombies in the tombs. In an attempt to bond with Carl, Daryl shares how his own mother died and how it didn't "seem real." Carl reminds Daryl that he shot Lori in the head himself, which felt totally real. Daryl acknowledges this, and they are forever bonded, with Carl having the upper hand forever and ever. Later, he finds Carol's knife in a zombie's face... and then he finds Carol! Yay!

Rick hears the phone ring one more time -- and it's Lori. Rick has officially gone bye-bye. But it's, honestly, one of the creepiest scenes of the whole series. Between the fact that the call itself is broken up and muddled, there's also the whole Lori is dead thing. But at least it gets him to finally hold his newborn -- right before Michonne shows up with the groceries. I hope she brought snacks!

Previously: This week's The Walking Dead recap is all about daughters - dead ones, living ones, living-dead ones [SPOILERS]

Photo credit: AMC




    I love how the show uses familiarity with the comic book as a trap to play with expectations while still preserving a lot of the narrative from the books. Pretty sure that a Woodbury attack on the prison is inevitable.. also pretty sure that the Governer is gonna get his just desserts, courtesy of Andrea. (I’m kind of glad they seem to be skipping over the whole beatings/rape/scooping-eyeballs-out-with-a-spoon thing)

    1. I agree with the first sentence although I wouldnt be so sure about the beatings/rape/scooping-eyeballs-out-with-a-spoon-thing quite yet. I think the real depravity comes to the surface soon enough.

      1. You’re right that it’s not a sure thing, but I have a feeling that AMC isn’t gonna want to go where the comics did. Those issues shocked me.

  2. The part I didn’t get was that the archer on the wall was the one who was supposed to teach Andrea how to use a bow.  And she had graduated from her own bow to her father’s, which “cost more than a car”.  I suppose it was a plot device to get Andrea fired up for blood, but it didn’t play well.

    Total incompetence can be played for humorous effect, such as when the prisoners hacked away at all the wrong zombie body parts while Rick, T-Dog & Daryl exchanged glances.  But this was supposed to be the teacher.  One miss….maybe, although that was ridiculously short range.  Two wide misses?  Yeah, no.  Not believable.

      1. The range is what….about 20 or 25 feet?  If the first miss was because the zombie lurched at the wrong moment, OK, that would be reasonable.  But why in the world would you shoot for the mid-section instead of the head?  That might stop the forward momentum for a second or two, at best.  Only logical answer I can think of: she doesn’t know how to aim that crossbow.

  3. I am sooo glad Carol is alive! I really love the relationship she has with Daryl. Its odd to place but that makes it so much more believable.

  4. Okay, I haven’t read the comic so no spoilers here but who thinks Darryl is going to wind up killing Merle?

    1. Haven’t read them either, but I think it’ll be a ROTJ thing where the Governor/Emperor tries to get Merle/Vader to kill Daryl/Luke, but Merle kills the Governor instead.

    2. I haven’t read the comics either but I do know that Daryl (the character) isn’t in them so what happens with him is anyone’s guess.

  5. I guess I’ll have to read this later, since I’m like a week behind schedule (not only I’m in Chile but I don’t have cable, hehehe) But the net has its ways of showing us stuff. Plus, I’m buying the comics, so eventually I’ll reach this point :-) heheheheh!!!

  6. Merle is a great character.  Not such a _nice_ character…but he’s a survivor all right.  And he’ll be trouble for our little band: keep a stiff upper lip Glen and Maggie!

    Ineffective archery girl is -I hope- a portent that The Guvnuhs people have perhaps grown a little soft behind their Great Wall of Tires.

    But the prison is beginning to seem less like a refuge and more like a…yeah.  Rick is cracking.  At least he can still wield weaponry; but who’s left for a dedicated assault?

    Daryl is stalwart.  Carl just had to kill his Moms so what’s tossing a few rounds at a few more actual humans, right?  Child’s play.  

    But Hershel is a crippled old man.  Carol is alive (welcome back) but all beat to hell.  The two prison dudes might be assets…but something about whitey moustache man: he might cut and run or do something pervy, maybe not…but he’s too goddamn obliging.  Who’s left?  Ol’ wassername and ???

    Little Ass Kicker is just a little too young to be much use in a bloody battle of attrition…so…our side is Fucked.  ‘Game over man!’

    Ahh, However…Hello Michonne…Welcome Home.  : )

  7. I am not quite sure what is going on with this season and why it is so much better than the previous two, but I hope they keep it up.  As well as all the extra action (too much navel gazing previously) I am enjoying the dynamics between the characters a lot more too.  I was also pleased that Carol survived – she was my favourite minor character by a long chalk.  I didn’t mind so much when some of the others got chewed but for Carol – well, I grieved as much for Darryl as myself! There was a certain tenderness to their relationship which made him a much fuller character. I am also digging the whole Woodbury and the prison as visual metaphors thing… :)

    1.  this season is ‘better’ thanks to the writers having two concurrent and intersecting storylines, and pacing them immaculately. it shows they’re really paying attention to what the viewers want to see, all the while keeping the story tight. they made sure not to give anybody a reason to complain that ‘nothing is going on’ this season.

  8. The phone call scenes were absolutely fantastic, intense, marvelous.
    Daryl scooping up Carol is the most tender scene of this entire season. (But why didn’t Carol say anything when the fellas were killing zombies outside her cell/hiding place?)
    Merle’s getting sneaky on the Gov, not telling complete truths, can’t see what happens there. And who will discover Penny?

    1. She’s dehydrated to the point of shock and near-death.

      I admit (with a little gloating!) that I *knew* Carol was alive.  T-Dog’s sacrifice had to mean something, and her body was never found.  I figured she got caught behind something….like maybe dead bodies piled up so she couldn’t push a door open. And of course each day that goes by, she’d be that much weaker.

      As soon as Daryl went to that door, then decided to focus his attention elsewhere….I KNEW he’d found her.

      *happy dance*

  9. I guess we’re supposed be more or less on Michonne’s side, but it didn’t seem particularly necessary for her to jump out of the woods and slaughter those kids that were with Merle, rather than simply stay hidden or slink away, did it? It didn’t really remove any threat to her. That’s the first time we’ve seen her kill live humans, and it was essentially needless murder. Odd. I guess she’s a darker character than I’d guessed so far.

    On the other hand, for people living in a zombie apocalypse, Merle and the Governor don’t seem to place a lot of value on the able-bodied humans (Neil, the soldiers earlier) who you’d think could add safety and manpower to their group. Instead, they’re relying on people like incompetent archer girl to guard the village? Doesn’t make much sense, except that they’re insecure and don’t want any humans around who could pose a threat to their power.

    One other comment on Merle – I know he’s supposed to be a tough, rugged character, but his seeming invincibility gets a little unbelievable, to the point of silliness. He’s got one hand, and wasn’t the youngest, fittest, or soberest guy to begin with. Seeing him somehow handily beat that ripped MMA-type fighter in the zombie-cage fight last week got a little eye-rolly.

    I had not missed Carol at all. She just stands around looking pained – not a very interesting character.

    1. “Doesn’t make much sense, except that they’re insecure and don’t want any humans around who could pose a threat to their power.”

      ding ding ding: we have a winner.

    2. 1) considering that the 4top they sent out into the woods was out there specifically to kill michonne, i don’t see her killing them as needless. she knew they were going to track her (since merle is adept at tracking), she left a message for them, they ignored it, and she killed them. pretty cut and dry, pardon the pun.

      2)i agree. woodbury is obviously not as safe as, even the governer, might think it is. i think the writers might be purposefully showing the cracks in the facade that is woodbury.

      3)merle isn’t the fittest, or the youngest, however, he’s a survivor, he’s crazy, and he IS a fuckin bad-ass. he kicked serious ass on the roof in season one. he is not to be trifled with. and that zombie cage fight was the equivalent of a wwe match. defanged zombies, and i’m pretty sure a predetermined outcome.

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