After last week's tragedy parade, "Say the Word" takes some time to show us the survivors dealing with the aftermath as well as catch up to the weirdness taking place in Woodbury. Up until now, aside from the, uh, heads in jars, the Governor has seemed fairly mild-mannered, especially compared to his counterpart in the comics. But Walking Dead audience, we are in luck — this week, we finally got a nice taste of why Andrea should really listen to Michonne and get the heck out of this joint.
As always, plot spoilers are included after the jump.
This episode drew a lot from the Woodbury material from the comics, and while I agree with Chris Hardwick, who mentioned on The Talking Dead that the community still seemed a lot less "savage" than the comics, at least we're finally seeing why Michonne refuses to make herself at home.
Like Penny, for example. The Governor's zombie daughter, whom he's keeping in his home like she just has a more chronic, disgusting strain of chicken pox. Daddy is brushing her hair, some of which comes off with a chunk of her scalp. Then he throws a bag over her head and kisses it, saying he loves her. That, my friends, is about as unconditional as love can get.
Meanwhile, another father, Rick, is passing out cigars upon the birth of his newborn daughter. I'm sorry, not cigars. Axes to the head. Rick is running through the tombs of the prison, splitting zombies in the head with an ax. My mistake. But yes — Rick is dealing with the death of Lori as much as he can right now, except that he has an ax and a firearm and a zombie apocalypse. He could really use a hug. But life goes on, and makeshift midwife Maggie and Daryl (and his poncho) go on a run for baby supplies.
Michonne has spent her entire time in Woodbury being suspicious and uncomfortable, so she takes it upon herself to get her katana back from the Governor's office so she can split. While she's there, she tries to find evidence that she's not just being paranoid and finds it in the Gov's diary. While it looks like this guy legitimately tried to create a safe community for his own band of survivors, he eventually just dissolves into a crazed bunch of lines. That's… not normal. Michonne is almost caught when the Gov, Dr. Stevens, and Merle come into the office, talking about some experiment and the night's planned "festivities," but she goes stealth until they leave.
She sneaks out of the office, finds a pen of captive walkers, kills all of them, smiles for the first time in, perhaps, a year, and then is brought directly back to the Gov's office when she's caught. While the Gov tries to reason with her, she re-swipes her katana, holds it to his throat, and leaves. Andrea, who cannot believe Michonne doesn't want to hang out and drink iced tea with the nice people, tries to convince her that Woodbury is where it's at! But Michonne has seen the Gov's diary, and it does not say, "Dear Diary: I have such a crush on Michonne. She's soooooo cool, I hope she likes me back!"
We get even more evidence that Michonne is on the mark when we see Merle, Dr. Stevens, and other Woodburians at a nearby zombie trap, where they purposefully catch and contain zombies so they can do things with them. Getting closer…
At the prison, the survivors are still dealing with their grief. While searching for supplies in an abandoned daycare center, Daryl sees a child's cut-out hand with the name "Sofie" on it, which immediately makes him think about Carol. It had seemed like Carol was lost along with Lori and T-Dogg, though we never saw her get attacked, nor did we see her body. And let's remember, Andrew was seemingly left for dead too, only to return to be shot by his fellow prisoner, Oscar. (The previews for next week also mention finding Carol's knife.) But Daryl believes that she's gone, and places a Cherokee rose on a grave meant for her. Before that, we also see Daryl feeding Lori's baby, so such displays probably made a million pairs of ovaries explode.
Back in Woodbury, Michonne has peaced out and Andrea arrives at the night's "festivities" arm-in-arm with the Governor. And then she discovers that the lovely community that's been making her iced tea has been watching the menfolk fight each other while surrounded by tethered zombies. The Gov defends it as entertainment and a way to teach everyone to not fear the zombies (and exploit them instead!). Andrea thinks this is pretty fucked up, but judging by the scene shown on The Talking Dead which has her making out with the Governor, she gets over this pretty quickly.
Rick eventually finds where Lori died, including the bullet that Carl put in her head — but no Lori. Just her guts. A tired, bloated zombie nearby indicates that he's eaten her (plus the familiar brown hair in his teeth). Great. He couldn't even prevent his dead wife from being eaten by a zombie. Rick shoots the zombie, stabs it, and if he could have set him on fire and poured acid on him, he would have. And then — the phone rings. Cut to black.
The Walking Dead is having a great season. Once the survivors got to the prison, the show kicked into seriously high gear with a lot of sick zombie-killing action, sad deaths for established characters, and new hope (or fears) in new characters… That prison turned The Walking Dead into a glass case of emotion. And "Say the Word" didn't disappoint.
Photo credit: AMC