This week's The Walking Dead recap is full of incredibly awkward reunions! [SPOILERS]

In the aptly-titled mid-season finale of The Walking Dead, "Made to Suffer" introduced us to a new group of survivors and reunited a bunch of familiar ones. But if you're thinking about giant, relieved hugs after a triumphant run across a grassy field, you are going to be sorely disappointed. In summary: a moment of manliness by Carl, a moment of insanity by Rick, a moment of power by Carol, and one million awkward moments between all the people who used to hang out together -- Andrea, Merle, Daryl, Michonne -- and no longer do.

As usual, plot spoilers are discussed after the jump, so you have been warned!

Last week's episode ended in a tense moment when Rick, Daryl, and Oscar finally reached Woodbury, led there by Michonne so they can rescue Maggie and Glen. What they don't know: Andrea and Merle are also there. What the Governor thinks, because Merle told him so: Michonne is dead. This will all culminate in a bloody catastrophe.

But first -- another group of survivors, including comic book favorite Tyreese, played by Chad Coleman! These guys are traipsing about the forest like they've had their own zombie apocalypse show this whole time. One of them is bitten by a zombie, but unlike Rick, Tyreese does not lop off the victim's arm. Instead, they carry her to a building in the distance, which turns out to be the prison.

After last week's zombie experiments and still unaware of her boyfriend's near-rape of Maggie, Andrea comes in and tells the Governor that she's going to help Milton cremate Mr. Colmeman. Andrea seals her position as the official Will Tippin of The Walking Dead.

Glen and Maggie are recovering from their assaults and prepare to make an escape, but not before Glen has the incredibly resourceful idea of ripping out both forearm bones from a dead zombie. He keeps one for himself and gives the other to Maggie like the sickest promise ring in the universe. (I'm going to pretend that zombie's name was Jared.) These makeshift weapons will come in handy when the two are taken to "the screaming pits," as ordered by the Governor. Luckily, Rick and the gang are not far away.

Back at the prison, Axel displays his disgusting side by hitting on 17-year-old Beth in front of everyone, no attempt to be subtle about it. Carol takes him aside, and he explains that there is no one left for him to bone because everyone is taken and Carol is a lesbian due to her short haircut. She laughs at him, walks away, feels true power over at least one stupid man, and a sitcom is born!

After almost overpowering Merle but failing (again), Glen and Maggie are brought by Merle to the aforementioned "screaming pits," which actually just looks like another gross room. Bags are put over their heads, just in time for their fellow survivors to ambush the Woodburians and save them, and Daryl misses a huggy reunion with Merle by mere seconds. The Governor is alerted, and Andrea wonders if anyone she knows is here because OMG she didn't even make tea for them!

Glen tells Daryl that Merle is the one who beat him up, but Daryl is torn between being upset and wanting to see his brother, who he now knows is alive. Um, Daryl? You have a phone call from someone named Severe Loyalty Conundrum. You wanna take it or let it go to voicemail while you head into this gunfight?

The Governor puts Andrea in charge of door-to-door "check-ins" and she gets pissed because she won't be able to shoot anything. Meanwhile, Michonne finds the Gov's office and starts snooping. Andrea goes rogue and joins the gunfight, no idea that she's shooting at her old crew -- and Daryl has no idea he's firing at his brother, who is firing right back at him. In the chaos, Oscar is lost. Then Rick thinks he sees a bearded Shane firing at him, so at least we know who the really crazy one in this fight is.

While his father hallucinates, Carl takes charge of the new survivors and (cautiously) allows them to stay in the prison. Later, he rounds them up into a cell with food and water, and while they whine, Tyreese reminds them all that they've been crapping in the woods amongst zombies, and the prison is a fine upgrade. And he also refers to Carl as "the man," which made Carl's balls grow three sizes that day. Carl Grimes is now a strapping man, trapped in the body of a boy, and feeling totally allowed to drink real beer if he can find some.

Speaking of kids, Michonne finally meets Penny (as well as the Gov's head collection). Right before she is about to kill her, the Gov walks in, begging for her life to be spared. It's a pretty insane moment, considering 1. Michonne and the Gov seems to have a connection, having tried to keep undead loved ones close (it's been implied that her "pets" were not strangers), and 2. the Gov was told that Michonne was dead. There is undeniable sympathetic moment, but when Michonne finally kills Penny, the Gov flips, a tussle happens, and Michonne stabs him in the eye with a chunk of glass. Andrea walks in, seeing the most undelightful shit she's seen all day, including dead-undead Penny and chomping zombie heads on the floor. She might be onto something, you guys.

Michonne escapes and asks Rick to take her in. Daryl and Merle are reunited when the Governor -- who has now lost everything -- throws Merle under the bus for lying about Michonne, telling Woodbury that Merle led the "terrorists" to them, that he was a traitor because of his brother. And what's the last scene before we sign off until February? Daryl and Merle, facing off. What a predicament!

The Walking Dead returns to AMC on Sunday, February 10 at 9:00 PM (EST)! More good news: The Talking Dead will start to air at 10:00 PM (EST) and will be extended to an hour!

Photo credit: AMC

Previously: This week's The Walking Dead recap is full of ugly situations and withheld information! [SPOILERS]


  1. it seems like there can never be more than one black guy on the walking dead at a time, as soon as a new black guy shows up you know one of them is going to die very soon

    1. The Law of Conservation of Black Guys: The number of black guys who are main characters on The Walking Dead must remain the same.

      Or maybe the Blackovitch Limitation Effect: If two black guys become main characters at the same time, there’s a dangerous energy discharge (unless of course, one of them is a regenerated Time Lord)

    2. They have to keep the number of black men to a minimum. If more than one was allowed on The Walking Dead, how would the writers know which of them Michonne should be having sex with?

    3. It is worth noting that the show now has a three Black people and one of them is the most bad-ass character on the show.

    4. The low number of black people on the show is really remarkable when you remember that this is supposed to be set in the South.

      1. Or not, if you remember that this is set in the South.

        The apparent lack of overt racial prejudice on the show notwithstanding, I think that in a “real” zombie apocalypse, gun ownership + bigotry would have settled a lot of grudges early on.

        1. Fair point. However, I submit that this would be reflected in a greater number of black walkers, but the ratio is about the same as the living. Aha!

    1. Well, you had Duane and the priest traveling in the group at the same time. That’s something, right?

  2. I’m not the first and I won’t be the last: this waiting until February is utter tripe. The zombie apocalypse does not get a winter vacation. Moar shows!

  3. Regarding “Spoilers”

    Sometimes the pictures on these pieces are potential spoilers themselves if you’re getting around to watching the show later than others. Not this picture, but the last one was.  Not that I didn’t fully expect we wouldn’t see ____ again, but I was kind of hoping the writers would go against cliche/convention, and where I’m watching in season two that character’s fate is still unknown. No dice on that. So I guess in the end no big deal except I found out what I expected would happen a bit earlier.

    * Yes you can scroll down fast enough to comment and not read any of the spoilers in the article or comments.

  4. I love this post, Jamie. Please, keep at it.

    One issue with your chronology, though, is that Oscar wasn’t killed before Rick started hallucinating, but while he was hallucinating. Rick saw “Shane” walking out of the smoke and wielding a shotgun. While Rick stared in disbelief at him, faux Shane pumped that shotgun right into poor Oscar’s ribcage. I am nit-picky on this point because Rick’s hallucination made him hesitate and was the proximate cause of Oscar’s death. His hallucinations may very well continue to put others in greater danger than usual.

    (Note: I love the show, but never read the graphic novels. My brother reads the graphic novels and refuses to watch the show. We never discuss the two.)

    (edited for formatting/spelling)

  5. Im on issue 85 of the comic and I had some friends ask why Michonne was so angry at the Gov. Its like the show transferred the rage from the comic without cause.
    Im thrilled Tyreese is in the show. From the moment he walked on screen, I was all, “Dude! That’s Tyreese!” Im glad they are playing out the prison longer. They stay there a while in the comic, but it all goes downhill fast. 
    Also glad Rick still has his hand :) 
    If only Andrea was as badass in the show as she is in the comic…

    1. I think the fact that after she left and was basically just planning to go her own way, he sent out four guys specifically ordered to hunt her and murder her merits a little bit of a personal grudge (she should also have it at Merle, of course, but I think she especially resents the mind game he’s running on her friend).

      1. I *could* see that, but I think they just needed a way for the Gov to loose his eye. Besides, she seems known for just going her own way. Holding a big grudge? That would slow her down past the moment.

    2. The Governor wanted Michonne’s head in his aquarium… he sent men out to kill her.  Should she be glad she only got a gunshot to the leg and hope never to see the Gov again. She went after the man that wanted her dead.

      1. I still don’t buy it. She’s didn’t know about the aquarium. She planned for men to come after her. She has a strategic mind. She cuts ties/her loses quick. She would not be ‘mad enough to sit and wait to kill him’ if something horrific and lingering didn’t happen to her. If you read the comic, you’d know it was just transferring her anger form there to here.

        1. It is not the comic book… I don’t see anything more horrific than being killed… seriously, what’s more horrific than being executed (which is what the four guys were sent to do). If someone wants to end your life, kill them first. That’s her motivation, period. The aquarium was a reference to The Governor asking Merle if he brought back her head, which was for the audience, not her. But apparently that was not enough, for those with some sort of expectations of her being tortured and raped, but seriously, what’s more horrific than your life ending, lol. Seems like the gravity of that went over some people’s heads. 

          1. Maybe you don’t see anything more horrific than being killed, but a lot of people who have been raped or tortured in some other way will tell you that at the time they wished for death as the better option.

          2. No I do not. With that said, I did not discredit the emotional and/or physical scars of being raped. But there is not coming back from death. On the other hand, a  person can rebound from tragedy in life, picking up the pieces. 

          3. Throughout the series, people have had their lives on the line. Considering the whole premise of the show is to find a ‘good life’ and that a lot of the time dying is a suitable option to that goal, and with how often have people been threatened and then have their lives let go (Rick does it a lot), I don’t find justification in her rage. 

            Her life was not on the line at that point, she has surely been threatened before, she did get away. No, she wanted revenge. He had bloodlust, for what? Generally you do that for something you have to live with, something that changes you. She got away, she won. Why seek to kill him?I get what you are saying, but knowing both side (the show and the comic) and knowing the motive behind this part of the story (the Gov. Held Michonne raped and tortured her with the full intent of her ‘finding a way for her to kill herself’) sometimes living with torture is worse than dying.

          4. We will just have to agree to disagree… Somewhere there is a double standard.  No one is jumping down Rick’s throat for killing Tomas, the guys at the bar, attempting to kill Andrew (Who had his right at “revenge” on Rick and the gang), shooting up random Woodbury men. Just because the Governor had lackeys to do his bidding does not make his attempt on Michonne’s life less server. It is a kill or be killed world. Anyone crying about the dude Maggie impaled with a bone? And once again, it is the tv show, and Michonne was not raped. Did she have to be raped to  go after the Gov?… No, she had motive enough. Seems like some people can’t separate the two universes. 

          5. Again, Rick killed in the moment (the inmate at the prison, the guys in the bar). They actively threatened him then and there. This was pre-meditated. She went back to kill him and her circumstances were no less dire than  what a number of other characters have gone through throughout the show. This was just different and overly reactionary.

  6. Oh, and I totally think that the ‘spy’ Merle angle is what they did with Rodriguez in the comic. Just sayin’

    1. **big spoilers!!**
      **big spoilers!!**

      good catch, i hadn’t considered that.  merle goes back to the prison with daryl – and then rick or daryl have to kill him as he tries to get back to woodbury to disclose their location/the size & strength of their force, etc.

      1. I know that the Gov and Rick talk to each other through the fence. I remember seeing that in one of the promo ads. Still, its gonna be a wild ride. Since Daryl and Merle are not in the comic, it will be interesting to see how Daryl reacts IF they put Tyresse and Carol together.

    2. Well on Talking Dead, Robert Kirkman (who wrote the episode), said that Merle is in trouble for not killing Michonne like he said he did. Also worth noting that one of the Governor’s guys *is* Rodriguez.

      However, none of that may matter. I stopped thinking my knowledge of the comics meant anything a long time ago. You may very well be right.

      1. They have followed some of the story arch with different characters (Maggie in place of Michonne) so that story might happen with different characters. The cast can only get *so* big, and Tyreese has brought in a slew of expendables ;)

      2. I’m avoiding watching the talking dead because I want to get all my information from the characters and story. If the writers/directors/actors/etc have to explain a scene just to get me to follow their story, then they need to write better.

  7. good episode, i’m enjoying the series a lot this season.

    i think the writers are having some natural problems translating (with complex revisions) the plot of the comics to the tv show, they can’t forget what they know. For example, in the tv show, it doesn’t feel completely natural for michonne to go after the governor.  i can imagine a plausible motivation, for instance, she’s decided to single-handedly assassinate the “jim jones” style despot so her new crew (rick & company) are safer.  It also doesn’t feel very natural for her to be loyal to rick (based on how he treats her), unless you assume she’s chosen rick’s group because of the scene with the baby and what she learned from andrea during their time together in the wild.

    my biggest complaint is the plot contrivance that all the drama could be sorted out if michonne would simply take 60 seconds to tell andrea & rick what she knows about the governor/merle.  when glenn is reunited with rick, he immediately tells them exactly what’s going on = merle is here, he tried to kill us.  why won’t michonne speak?

    why could rick’s group sneak into woodbury but then had to climb out over a bus in clear view of every resident with a machine gun?

    hmm, do you think the guys at the prison might want to look around a bit and realize that the entire back half of the prison is a collapsed, wide-open, door!

    as great as that scene was for carl, who in tyrese’s group was screaming like that, and why?

    i can’t help but think that killing off oscar is a deliberate gag by the writers.  though, i’m not sure what is worse – thinking this is funny or doing it unintentionally.

    1. Carl in that scene was boss. Love it. I love how his character is developing, like when they first brought Michonne in, he just went and gathered her stuff and the basket of formula, no orders needed.

    2. You raise a lot of good points.

      This episode felt like they were trying to cover a lot of ground (plot-wise) to keep viewers thinking and salivating for a few months.  But instead, we’ll probably be thinking about all the little ragged edges that didn’t quite fit together right.

      1. She travelled around with Andrea for 8 months, so I have an extremely hard time believing that they didn’t tell each other about where they were before hooking up. Surely Andrea told her about the farm and who was there. If not, then this show is just fuckn’ stupid.

        1. There was a discussion between them at one point — first day or so at Woodbury — in which Andrea complains that she’s told Michonne everything about her life over the months they’ve been together and yet gotten virtually no information about Michonne’s life at all in exchange.

  8. Sometimes I wonder why I watch this show.  The dead, walking…in search of warm human sustenance: Preposterous!  Utter poppycock.

    But…sometimes the over-the-top bits tickle my fancy: Glen making a stabber out of a radius/ulna…that was a great moment in television.  For reals.

    Maggie using it to stab some poor fool in the jugular: just desserts, pal.

    I was happy to see my man Cutty…er sorry: Tyreese.  I almost thought that blown up rearview of the prison was some sort of Future aspect post-Governor attack battlefield: nope.  Just poor perimeter security.  Got it.

    The Governor: what a weirdo…@#$% that guy.  I find his relationship with his daughter skewed and un-natural…why couldn’t he do the right thing and end her un-life years ago?  Plus the heads.  One or two, sure…but that dude is head hoarding.  He needs help.

    I would have liked the Screaming Pit to have actually been a pit.  Or at least expressed an inordinate amount of screaming… 

    And the final gunfight…(sigh).  You are hiding in an empty house.  No one knows you are there.  Why…oh why, would you throw a smoke grenade before you even walk out???  After you sneak out a bit, sure…distract/evade! But otherwise I can’t think of a better way to say ‘Here We Are!’…bar shouting.

    Plenty more intrigue, but why beat it like a bitten loved one?  See ya in February!

    1. I didnt get how Glen was able to pull the walker’s arm off from the wrist and tear off the arm from the shoulder, but not the elbow. I thought that was a HUGE physics no no. But I digress…

  9. Was anyone else expecting the Governor to knock on his daughters door and say “Penny. Penny. Penny”?

  10. Wow, I totally missed the whole Shane thing.  I mean, I saw Rick freaking out during the gunfight, but didn’t really understand why.  Glad you guys post these reviews!  Much quicker than sitting through an hour of The Talking Dead.

    1. Can we talk for a minute about haw terrible and out of place the Talking Dead Promo’s are?  I mean, they are profoundly annoying.  Maggie was almost raped last episode and that moron came on screaming about hash tags immediately after….

      Its like they want to drive off any non-fanboys.  I tried to watch the actual show once, but after a few minutes of wanting to slap the writer they always have on I had to move on and watch Boardwalk.

  11. Amazing how there’s a small 4 foot hole in the chain link fence at the back of the prison  – that was alluded to by I can’t remember who a few episodes ago – and NOBODY HAS BOTHERED TO SPEND 20 MINUTES TO FIX IT YET

    1. Its mac truck plot holes like this that infuriate me so much about the show, but weirdly keep me watching.

      They *did* say it was another part of the prison, but still, come on.

      1. Yep. With a single line of throw away dialogue back when they were first securing the prision – “Hey I fixed those 2 holes in the perimeter fence. We’re good.” and then Tyreese’s gang just cutting/hacking/untwisting the metal ties to get through, I wouldn’t be annoyed.

    2.  Yeah how simple would it be to have some wire on the fence and have them cut their way in….  this is why multiple writers and story-boarding are important. 

      1. Makes me wonder if the writers even have a map of the prison in their writer’s room. Or are they just making all this up in their heads…

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